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PUERTO RICO SELF-DETERMINATION PART I 



Y 4. 31/3: 103-36/PT. 1 

Puerto Rico Self-Deternimtion Part... DARING 

BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
INSULAK AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON 

NATURAL RESOURCES 

HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES 

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS 

FIRST SESSION 
ON 

H. Con. Res. 94 

EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS REGARDING THE EXPRES- 
SION OF SELF-DETERMINATION BY THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO 



HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC 
JULY 13, 1993 



Serial No. 103-36 Part I 



Printed for the use of the Committee on National Resources 




4Pff J 



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
76-006 WASHINGTON : 1994 



$ $94 



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office. Washington, DC 20402 
ISBN 0-16-043577-3 



9 



PUERTO RICO SELF-DETERMINATION PART I 



1/3: 103-36/PT. 1 

ico Self-Deternination Part... iiARLNCj 



BEFORE THE 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON 
INSULAR AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE 

COMMITTEE ON 

NATURAL RESOURCES 

HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES 

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS 

FIRST SESSION 
ON 

H. Con. Res. 94 

EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE CONGRESS REGARDING THE EXPRES- 
SION OF SELF-DETERMINATION BY THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO 



HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC 
JULY 13, 1993 



Serial No. 103-36 Part I 



Printed for the use of the Committee on National Resources 







U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 
76-006 WASHINGTON : 1994 

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402 
ISBN 0-16-043577-3 



COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES 
GEORGE MILLER, California, Chairman 



PHILIP R. SHARP, Indiana 
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts 
AUSTIN J. MURPHY, Pennsylvania 
NICK JOE RAHALL II, West Virginia 
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota 
PAT WILLIAMS, Montana 
RON De LUGO, Virgin Islands 
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut 
RICHARD H. LEHMAN, California 
BILL RICHARDSON, New Mexico 
PETER A DeFAZIO, Oregon 
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American 

Samoa 
TIM JOHNSON, South Dakota 
LARRY LaROCCO, Idaho 
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii 
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California 
CARLOS ROMERO-BARCELO, Puerto Rico 
KARAN ENGLISH, Arizona 
KAREN SHEPHERD, Utah 
NATHAN DEAL, Georgia 
MAURICE D. HINCHEY, New York 
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam 
SAM FARR, California 
LANE EVANS, Illinois 
PATSY T. MINK, Hawaii 
THOMAS J. BARLOW III, Kentucky 
THOMAS M. BARRETT, Wisconsin 



DON YOUNG, Alaska, 

Ranking Republican Member 
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah 
BARBARA F. VUCANOVICH, Nevada 
ELTON GALLEGLY, California 
ROBERT F. SMITH, Oregon 
CRAIG THOMAS, Wyoming 
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee 
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado 
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California 
WAYNE ALLARD, Colorado 
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana 
KEN CALVERT, California 
SCOTT McINNIS, Colorado 
RICHARD W. POMBO, California 
JAY DICKEY, Arkansas 



John Lawrence, Staff Director 

Richard Meltzer, General Counsel 

Daniel Val Kish, Republican Staff Director 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs 

RON DE LUGO, Virgin Islands, Chairman 



ELTON GALLEGLY, California, 

Ranking Republican Member 
BARBARA F. VUCANOVICH, Nevada 



ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA American 

Samoa 
CARLOS ROMERO-BARCELO, Puerto Rico 
ROBERT A UNDERWOOD, Guam 
AUSTIN J. MURPHY, Pennsylvania 
GEORGE MILLER, California 
Vacancy 

Jeffrey L. Farrow, Staff Director 

Brian Modeste, Professional Staff Member 

Daisy M. Minter, Clerk 

Manase Mansur, Republican Consultant on Insular and International Affairs 



(ID 



CONTENTS 



Page 

Hearing held: July 13, 1993 1 

Text of the bill: H. Con. Res. 94 6 

Member statements: 

Hon. Ron de Lugo 

Hon. Carlos Romero-Barcelo 8 

Hon. Robert A. Underwood 11 

Witness statements: 

Hon. Jose Serrano, a Representative in Congress from the State of New 

York 15 

Hon. Charles B. Rangel, a Representative in Congress from the State 

of New York 25 

Hon. Nydia M. Velazquez, a Representative in Congress from the State 

of New York 31 

Hon. Luis V. Gutierrez, a Representative in Congress from the State 

of Illinois 40 

Hon. Baltasar Corrada Del Rio, Secretary of State of Puerto Rico, rep- 
resenting the Governor of Puerto Rico and the New Progressive Party 

of Puerto Rico 54 

Hon. Fernando Martin Garcia, vice president of the Puerto Rican Inde- 
pendence Party 71 

Hon. Jose Enrique Arraras, Minority Leader of the House of Puerto 
Rico, on behalf of Miguel Hernandez Agosto, president of the Popular 

Democratic Party of Puerto Rico 85 

Hon. Antonio J. Colorado, former resident commissioner from Puerto 

Rico 109 

Panel consisting of: 

Hon. Kenneth D. McClintock-Hernandez, Member, Senate of Puerto 

Rico 127 

Hon. Marco A. Rigau, Member, Senator of Pueto Rico 143 

Panel consisting of: 

Dr. Miriam J. Ramirez de Ferrer, president, Puerto Ricans in Civic 

Action 161 

Carlos Gallisa, secretary general of Puerto Rican Socialist Party 169 

Benny Frankie Cerezo, president, Puerto Rican Statehood Forum 176 

Arturo J. Guzman, co-chairman, Institute for the Development, 
Equality and Advancement of Puerto Rico (I.D.E.A. of Puerto Rico, 

Inc.) 185 

Panel consisting of: 

Wilfredo Santiago Valiente, president, United Statehooders Organiza- 
tion of New York 205 

Luis Alvarez Archilla, Sparta, New Jersey 209 

Jose Garriga-Pico, associate professor, University of Puerto Rico 213 

din 



H. CON. RES. 94, EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF 
CONGRESS REGARDING THE EXPRESSION 
OF SELF-DETERMINATION BY THE PEOPLE 
OF PUERTO RICO 



TUESDAY, JULY 13, 1993 

House of Representatives, 
Committee on Natural Resources, 
Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, 

Washington, DC. 

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 
1324, Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Ron de Lugo (chair- 
man of the Subcommittee) presiding. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The Subcommittee on Insular and International 
Affairs will be in order. 

I would like to welcome all of our distinguished visitors here 
today to this historic committee hearing room. 

I would like to say that we have an overflow crowd, and we also 
have, for those who come later, there is a conference room behind 
this committee room that has speakers. So, for those who might not 
be able to get into the hearing this morning or this afternoon, be- 
cause it is going to go on all day, we would invite them to use the 
conference room behind us, where they will be able to hear the pro- 
ceedings. We will also probably invite some to sit here on the lower 
tier. 

The Chair has an opening statement. Because of the importance 
of these hearings and because of the importance of the subject mat- 
ter, which is certainly exemplified by the presence here of so many 
distinguished leaders of the people of Puerto Rico, I would like to 
read this opening statement. 

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. RON DE LUGO 

Mr. DE Lugo. The principle of self-determination has long been 
a cornerstone of United States foreign policy. Around the world, we 
have embraced the cause of other peoples seeking to shape their 
own destinies. Comparatively speaking, we have had considerably 
more difficulty in dealing with self-determination as a governing 
principle in our relations with those political entities under the 
U.S. flag which are not States of the Union. 

In the great era of decolonization following World War II, we 
gave critical support to the emergence of more than 50 new nations 
from the crumbling ruins of empires established around the globe 
by European colonizers. 

(l) 



We, too, had acquired colonies, most notably the Philippines and 
Puerto Rico as a consequence of the Spanish American War. After 
World War II, we acted quickly to redeem our promise to grant the 
Philippines their independence. Not long after, we acceded to the 
wishes of the people of Puerto Rico and entered into a new relation- 
ship termed a "Commonwealth" in English and "Estado Libre 
Asociado" in Spanish. 

The essence of this new form of association was that Puerto 
Ricans enjoyed local self-government under a constitution of their 
own enactment, but stayed within the jurisdiction of the Federal 
Government with respect to many important aspects of governance. 

It was not long before it became quite clear that this arrange- 
ment raised questions as to whether it met generally accepted 
international standards for self-determination. It was equally clear 
that many people in Puerto Rico did not accept that new status as 
a final determination of their choice of how they wished to be gov- 
erned. 

There were those in Puerto Rico who wished to perfect the com- 
monwealth relationship with more local autonomy, with a firmly 
defined set of obligations to each other on the part of Puerto Rico 
and the Federal Union, and with a permanence that would parallel 
the permanence in the relationship between the States and Federal 
Union. 

There were others who saw the commonwealth relationship, at 
best, a transitional step toward statehood and who regarded state- 
hood as the only proper status for those who live as true U.S. citi- 
zens. 

And there were yet others who believed that only through inde- 
pendence could the people of Puerto Rico become truly self-govern- 
ing and retain their unique identity. 

These conflicting views have been the central basis for virtually 
all partisan politics in Puerto Rico for the past several decades. 
Much serious and creative thought has been given to these issues 
by some of the best minds in Puerto Rico. And many other distin- 
guished scholars of international law have weighed in with their 
contributions to the debate. 

But beyond the wishes of the people of Puerto Rico, there is an- 
other significant factor which cannot be ignored, and it is the rea- 
son we are here today. The simple truth is that any choice for 
Puerto Rico which would result in an enhancement of common- 
wealth status or an evolution to statehood also involves the right 
to self-determination of the people of the United States. 

If Puerto Rico and the United States are to be joined together in 
a new manner, it must be by mutual consent. And for any change 
to take place in the relationship between Puerto Rico and the Unit- 
ed States, the Federal Constitution requires that Congress and the 
President must act to approve that change. 

In response to the concern of Puerto Ricans and their friends on 
the mainland, as well as to persistent challenges from the inter- 
national community, several national administrations have as- 
serted that all options are open to Puerto Rico. In addition, recent 
Presidents have pledged to support whatever status was chosen by 
the people of the island. 



The watchword has been self-determination. Less emphasized 
has been the necessarily mutual nature of the decision. 

The Congress — which would ultimately have to decide — has 
promised far less. A 1979 resolution introduced by then Resident 
Commissioner Baltasar Corrada del Rio, which would have recog- 
nized a unilateral right of the people of Puerto Rico to change their 
status, was amended to offer a more ambiguous commitment. 

In 1990, the three major political parties in Puerto Rico joined 
together to ask the Federal Government to commit itself to act on 
setting implementation procedures if the people voted for a change 
of status. 

The Puerto Rican Self-Determination Act, which I sponsored 
along with Members of both national parties, had the support of 
the major Puerto Rican parties because it would have done essen- 
tially what the parties had requested. That Act passed the House 
unanimously. 

In the Senate, legislation was offered to automatically implement 
or commit to implement whatever status Puerto Ricans chose. That 
legislation died. 

The message was that Congress could be expected to respond 
with sincerity and with thoughtful consideration to the people's 
will; but was not ready to make a blanket commitment in advance 
to whatever choice might be made by Puerto Rico. Faced with that 
reality, it has been my position that the most important proximate 
step we should seek to attain is the enactment of a workable proc- 
ess for resolving the issue. 

The proposal we have before us today, the Serrano Resolution, 
would, in essence, declare that the choice is the people of Puerto 
Rico's to make. Even though it goes beyond the commitment Mem- 
bers have been willing to make in the past, I think the time has 
come for Congress to pledge their support for the expressed will of 
the people which is the basis for the democratic society in which 
we all live. 

Too much has been said for too long by Presidents and our rep- 
resentatives in the United Nations concerning self-determination. 
We understand all options open for us, and now it is time to try 
to live up to these promises. But saying this, however, should not 
be misinterpreted to suggest that there are not other factors in the 
decision in addition to the people of Puerto Rico's will. 

The traditional requirement that the people of an area clearly de- 
sire statehood, for example, will have to be met. This is not some- 
thing that can be demonstrated simply by obtaining more votes 
than the other options or even by a simple majority vote. It will 
require a clear majority. 

Furthermore, declaring that the people of Puerto Rico have the 
right to choose does not mean that they can unilaterally set imple- 
mentation terms for any status that involves national policy. Nor 
should it be used as an excuse for proposing unrealistic terms. The 
President and Congress should be expected to act in the interests 
of the American political family as a whole. 

These are issues that require the Federal Government to act 
with the utmost seriousness because the decision it makes about 
Puerto Rico's status will have enormous significance to the future 



country as a whole, including its relations with all other insular 
areas in the Pacific and in the Caribbean. 

The United States has never been comfortable with the idea of 
owning colonies. What we are discussing here is how we finally end 
our role as a colonial power, and in saying this, I am not taking 
sides in the debate in Puerto Rico with regard to the validity of 
commonwealth. 

What I do want to get across, though, is that we cannot deal gen- 
erally with a matter of such sweeping scope without a far greater 
measure of national leadership than we have seen to date. Addi- 
tionally, I want to note that this matter is so complex and impor- 
tant that the leadership that is needed can only come from the 
President. To date, we have not had the leadership necessary from 
any President — although I hope that we will have it from the 
present occupant of the White House. 

The Serrano Resolution could help bring this about. By sponsor- 
ing it and obtaining the commitment of our President to support 
the will of the people, our distinguished colleague from New York, 
Jose Serrano, has done a national service in raising the issue of the 
federal role. 

Because it is before us now and now because Puerto Rico plans 
to vote on November 14 on the choices of statehood, independence, 
or further development of the commonwealth, we will, hopefully, 
get the national leadership on the issue that has so long been lack- 
ing. We should, because resolving Puerto Rico's status issue is one 
of the most fundamental issues facing our Nation today. 

It concerns the national identity of 3.6 million U.S. citizens on 
the island — a question so basic as to be incomprehensible in the 
context of the States. 

The issue is divisive, distracting, and debilitating on the island. 
It also affects other U.S. interests, including those of the 2.7 mil- 
lion Puerto Ricans elsewhere. It is at the heart of most issues relat- 
ing to Puerto Rico. 

As our other veteran colleague from New York who has done so 
much to help Puerto Rico, Charlie Rangel, and our new colleagues 
from New York and Illinois, Nydia Velazquez and Luis Gutierrez, 
know well, status relates to the issue concerning Puerto Rico which 
has received the most national attention recently. This is the tax 
exemption for U.S. companies with income deriving from insular 
areas, Section 936, that is so much a part of Puerto Rico's economy. 

And, as our colleague from Puerto Rico, Carlos Romero-Barcelo, 
knows too, it relates to the inadequate coverage of the island in the 
national program for medical assistance for the needy. 

So Puerto Rican leaders who have tried to resolve this central 
issue — whether by scheduling the plebiscite, trying to perfect the 
proposal for it, or requesting the Federal Government to act jointly 
with their people — deserve commendation. 

As I said, the Serrano Resolution is a service to the Nation be- 
cause it focuses the Federal Government's attention on its respon- 
sibility for the issue. At the same time, it also focuses our attention 
on Puerto Rico's plan for addressing it in the November plebiscite. 

The resolution raises questions: Should a majority be required? 
What will happen after? Who should vote? These are critical ques- 



tions that will affect the federal decision that will ultimately need 
to be made. 

I would hope that this decision would be reflected in a fair proce- 
dure, such as that which the House approved in 1990 and that, this 
time, one will be enacted into law. 

I would also hope that, with the changed in the international sit- 
uation, the problem can be faced squarely — and that, in this age of 
democratization, the federal response to Puerto Rico's aspirations 
and situation will be just. 

[The Serrano Resolution, H. Con. Res. 94, follows:] 



IV 



103d CONGRESS 
1st Session 



H. CON. RES. 94 



Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the expression of self- 
determination by the people of Puerto Rico. 



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

May 5, 1993 

Mr. Serrano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was 

referred jointly to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Natural Resources 



CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 

Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding the 
expression of self-determination by the people of Puerto Rieo. 

Whereas the people of Puerto Rico are natural-born citizens 
of the United States but do not enjoy all of the individual 
rights and liberties accorded to other American citizens 
under the United States Constitution; 

Whereas the future status of Puerto Rico remains under dis- 
cussion among residents of the Island of Puerto Rico and 
among Puerto Ricans residing in the 50 States of the 
United States; and 

Whereas the Charter of the United Nations, a treaty to which 
the United States is a signatory, expresses the right of 
self-determination, that is the right of a people to decide 
for themselves the political status under which they live: 
Now, therefore, be it 



2 

1 Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 

■ 2 concurring), That the Congress — 

3 (1) reaffirms the commitment of the people of 

4 the United States to the principle of self-determina- 

5 tion; 

6 (2) reasserts the principle, first articulated by 

7 the Congress in its ratification of the Charter of the 

8 United Nations, that with respect to territories 

9 whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure 

10 of self-government, the interests of the inhabitants 

11 of such territories are paramount; and 

12 (3) endorses the right of the people of Puerto 

13 Rico to political self-determination. 

o 



8 

Mr. DE LUGO. I will now recognize the distinguished gentleman 
from Puerto Rico, the Resident Commissioner, Governor Carlos Ro- 
mero. 

STATEMENT OF HON. CARLOS ROMERO-BARCELO 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

First, I would like to welcome all of the people here who have 
shown a deep interest in matters that affect Puerto Rico and our 
future. They must also be very interested to come here in Washing- 
ton in July, it is so warm. 

I want to thank Congressman Serrano for his efforts in trying to 
obtain a sense of Congress concerning Puerto Rico's right to self- 
determination. I must underscore the fact that we see this issue 
from different perspectives. 

Mr. Serrano is a Puerto Rican, a Member of Congress who has 
a right to vote, and as a Member of Congress, he votes in Congress. 

He sees it from the point of view where he is sitting, where he 
wants to make sure the Congress and the Nation pay attention to 
Puerto Rico and solve this colonial issue. But I, as a Puerto Rican, 
feel that it is our issue and our problem, and it is up to us to make 
the decision. 

As long as we feel that Congress must express themselves first 
before we tell the world what we want to be, where we want to go, 
we are falling into the whole concept of colonialism. We are show- 
ing a colonial mentality and a colonial pattern. We must first ask 
the colonial masters how they are going to solve our problem before 
we make our decision. 

I think we must first make our decision and once we make the 
decision, come forward and demand it as a matter of right. As U.S. 
citizens we have that right. I don't think the Nation can even begin 
to think that once the majority of the 3.5 million U.S. citizens in 
Puerto Rico opt for one solution, particularly a decolonizing solu- 
tion, that the Nation, the Congress of the Nation, which is an ex- 
ample of democracy throughout the world, the inspiration of democ- 
racy, can deny a majority of 3.5 million U.S. citizens their desire 
and their will, which is within the concept of the Constitution and 
the laws of the Nation. 

However, this hearing is extremely useful from the point of view 
that it will bring to the table, the discussion, the issue of status. 
It will raise the level of consciousness of the issue in the Congress 
and also throughout the Nation. 

The meeting here today will take care of that. More people will 
know this is on the table. And on November 14, Puerto Rico will 
be holding a plebiscite to make a decision on its future, to take the 
first steps toward decolonization. 

As we talk about decolonizing, it is apt that at this moment we 
define what is "commonwealth.'' I think when you stop and think 
about commonwealth, you must remember, if you read Alice in 
Wonderland, that it is precisely Alice in Wonderland. It is the op- 
posite of what it appears to be. 

It has been touted as a big step toward self-government. There 
is no big step toward self-government in commonwealth. We are 
still a territory, a territory in the constitutional and legal terms of 
the United States, and in international terms, we are a colony. 



9 

Now let us take a look at commonwealth and see if we are or we 
are not a colony. In the first place, it is only the name that has 
changed. We have the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we have the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we have the Commonwealth of 
Virginia and they are not territories. They are not conceived as 
something separate. They are States of the Union. 

We are called commonwealth the same as the Commonwealth of 
Virginia, the same as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Com- 
monwealth of Kentucky, but we are a territory. We are still subject 
to the laws of Congress. 

In Congress they pass laws that affect the environment of the 
Nation and the environment in Puerto Rico. We are held by those 
laws. We do not participate in the decision of those laws or in the 
enactment of those laws. 

We are subject to minimum wage laws, they might be the best 
and they are good, but we do not vote to make the decisions that 
the laws be applicable to us. 

We are subject to labor relations laws and unfair labor practices 
and unfair management practices. They might be the best laws in 
the world, but we did not vote to make those laws applicable to 
Puerto Rico. 

We are subject to custom duties. We are subject to excise taxes. 
Now we will be subject to income taxes, and we do not participate 
in the decisions of those laws that are applicable in Puerto Rico. 

Who enforces those laws in Puerto Rico? Those laws are enforced 
by the Department of Justice. There is a U.S. District Attorney in 
Puerto Rico appointed by the President for whom we do not vote. 
They are confirmed by the Senate, where we have no representa- 
tion. If anybody violates the law, they are taken before a judge ap- 
pointed by a President for whom we do not vote, and confirmed by 
the Senate with whom we have no representation. 

If we are subject to the laws of the Nation, our Nation, and we 
do not participate in the democratic process of the enactment of 
those laws and those laws are enforceable and hold us to obey 
those laws, how can we say Puerto Rico is not a colony? 

What is a colony? How can be there less of a colony than that 
when we are subject to the will of a Congress and the acts of a 
President whom we have not participated in his election in a de- 
mocracy. 

I think it is very important that we look at this. The whole proc- 
ess back in 1951 and 1952 to establish the commonwealth was to 
approve a constitution for Puerto Rico, a constitution that can be 
amended by Congress. There is nothing that we can do about it. 
Congress can invalidate parts of our constitution and there is 
nothing that we can do about it because they have the authority 
under the territorial clause and that has not been amended. 

So, what we must first do is realize that Puerto Rico is a colony 
in international terms and that becomes unacceptable to the Na- 
tion. That becomes unacceptable to the Congress. That becomes un- 
acceptable to the President, and that is how they are going to 
move. That is when we are going to get a decision. 

So, now in Puerto Rico we are going to have the opportunity on 
November 14 to express our desire. I hear some people say there 



10 

has to be a clear majority. There does not have to be a clear major- 
ity to begin the process. 

We want to find out what the majority of the people in Puerto 
Rico want, where they want to direct themselves. If statehood wins, 
I have no doubt, for instance, that with a majority of over 50 per- 
cent, it will be a lot easier to get an admission bill in Congress 
than with a majority of 49 percent. But a majority of 49 percent 
is sufficient to begin the process, because a bill for admission of 
Puerto Rico as a State would have to be, as tradition has shown, 
not by law, but by tradition, would have to be submitted to the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico for ratification. 

At that moment, there would be a yes or no vote, and there 
would be a majority, over 50 percent. But one way or the other, to 
say there has to be a clear majority in any part of the process be- 
fore the final decision is made, is to try to put an obstacle to the 
decolonization of Puerto Rico. 

We have in Puerto Rico three options: Independence, Common- 
wealth and Statehood. 

Commonwealth is composed of people who want a full autonomy, 
who would want to see the United States district courts taken 
away from Puerto Rico. They would have no jurisdiction in Puerto 
Rico. Puerto Rico would have to make its own laws in immigration 
and its own customs duties and its own customs laws, and be sepa- 
rated from the United States for all practical purposes, except for 
citizenship and for the funds that are allocated to Puerto Rico in 
Federal programs. That is what some people would like who sup- 
port the commonwealth. 

Others want everything that statehood would provide except the 
responsibility of contributing to the Treasury of the Nation. They 
want all the programs applied in Puerto Rico to the full extent as 
they are applied in other States, but they don't want taxes applied 
in Puerto Rico because they do not want to assume responsibility. 
They want to continue as a commonwealth where we receive, 
where we ask, but we don't participate, where we don't contribute, 
where we do not accept our responsibilities as citizens of a nation. 

But the basis of commonwealth is U.S. citizenship and perma- 
nent union. 

So they are not against the United States. If you were to give 
the option to some of the States in the Nation to have a common- 
wealth, so-called, where they don't have to pay Federal taxes, who 
knows what the percentage of people in those States would go. I 
am not sure the people in California might not vote for something 
where they did not have to pay any taxes. 

In Puerto Rico, the vast majority of the people are under the pov- 
erty line. You hear the people say it is a very good thing to give 
grants to the wealthy, but it is very, very bad to give grants to the 
poor. 

What are the grants to the wealthy, the tax exemption. They give 
tax exemptions to the wealthy to make more money. That is very 
good. That is fine. But to give grants to the poor, that is not good, 
because that creates dependency. Even the poor who cannot do it 
on their own, even the aged, even the children, even the women 
with children who cannot work because they do not have the time 
to work, they should not receive the same funding that they receive 



11 

in the mainland because it is more important to give grants to the 
wealthy in terms of tax exemption. 

So, what we are deciding on this issue on November 14 in Puerto 
Rico is whether we want to be U.S. citizens or not. Once we make 
that decision that we want to be U.S. citizens, there is only one 
way and it is equality, on an equal basis, with equal political and 
economic rights. There can be no other way, if we understand what 
democracy is all about and if we understand the meaning of why 
we want to be part of the Nation. 

This hearing today is going to be very important in the sense, as 
I explained before, we are going to listen to the people in Puerto 
Rico and their views and what will come out of this, I would hope 
and I feel confident, is a better understanding of the relationship 
between Puerto Rico and the States, our colonial relationships, a 
relationship that is untenable in the 20th Century. 

It is a relationship that must be put an end to, and the only way 
that it can be put an end to is to let the people of Puerto Rico ex- 

Eress their opinion, whether the Congress commits itself to abide 
y that decision, it is immaterial. 

If we as a people are afraid to make a choice without anyone tell- 
ing us from above, quote-unquote, what that choice should be or 
how they are going to look at the choice, then we don't deserve a 
solution. We have to make a decision regardless of what the Con- 
gress will say. Once we make the decision, then fight for it. That 
is the only way that we will be respected. That is the only way that 
we can put an end to colonialism, when we show that we are not 
going to accept colonialism anymore. 

Thank you. 

Mr. de Lugo. I want to thank the gentleman from Puerto Rico 
for that very eloquent and powerful statement on behalf of state- 
hood. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Now, yielding equal time to the cause of common- 
wealth, let me recognize the gentleman from Guam, an educator 
and a very valued member of this Committee, Congressman Robert 
Underwood. 

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD 

Mr. Underwood. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I always have the unenviable position of following Mr. Romero 
every time we discuss the issue of political status. Every time he 
discusses the merits of commonwealth and statehood, I am always 
eager to point out that what he is willing to throw away we are 
willing to accept. 

I don't wish to mean that as any point in the discussion of what 
is good for Puerto Rico because certainly that is not my affair and 
certainly it is something that is up to the people of Puerto Rico to 
decide. 

I want to thank you for holding this hearing on H. Con. Res. 94, 
expressing the sense of Congress regarding the expression of self- 
determination of the people of Puerto Rico. 

It is significant to note that while this resolution is primarily fo- 
cused on the affairs of Puerto Rico and the upcoming political sta- 
tus plebiscite on that island, the expression of the right of self-de- 
termination of all non-self-governing territories is of paramount im- 



12 

portance, not only to Puerto Rico, but certainly to places like 
Guam. As a matter of historical record, I would point out that 
Guam along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines and Cuba were 
subsumed into the American empire as a result of the Spanish- 
American War. 

I want to unequivocally state the assertion of the people of Guam 
to their inherent right to self-determination. Congress should sup- 
port this right on Guam, as it should in Puerto Rico and in other 
territories, where people seek to fulfill their political destinies. 

Moreover, Congress would be wise to facilitate the exercise of 
these rights. Once the people have decided on their own futures, 
I certainly would hope that Congress would support the will of the 
people of the territories. 

TTie people of Guam have voted to establish a new common- 
wealth that is somewhat patterned on the Puerto Rico experience, 
but we think it goes further beyond. I have introduced legislation 
to enact the desire of the people of Guam in H.R. 1521. 

All too often the discussions of political status revolve around the 
dynamics of big versus small, strong versus weak, east versus west, 
and us versus them. I hope the dialogue and discussion today will 
contribute to a new understanding in Congress of the desires of the 
people of the territories and the importance of affirming some basic 
human political rights, instead of discussing political advantages. 
The United States, as a signatory of the United Nations Charter, 
and the Congress in ratifying that treaty, affirmed the right of self- 
determination for all non-self-governing territories. I, as the non- 
voting delegate coming from the unincorporated territory of Guam, 
do affirm that right. 

An unincorporated territory means that you are owned by the 
United States, but you are not a part of the United States. 

At the end of World War II, the process of self-determination 
worked well for some American territories, but unfortunately not 
for others, as the Cold War intervened in that progress. The Cold 
War is over. It is no longer a question of balancing national inter- 
ests with the interests of the people of the territories. 

The new reality is that it is in the national interest to recognize 
self-determination for the territories. It is in the national interest 
to recognize a right so fundamentally basic to the concept of Amer- 
ican democracy that it is even inscribed in the walls of the U.S. 
Capitol. 

As William Henry Harrison, himself a former territorial delegate, 
admonishes us, "The only legitimate right to govern is an expressed 
grant of power from the consent of the governed." For this Con- 
gress and for this Nation, the recognition of the right to self-deter- 
mination for the American flag territories is not an issue to be de- 
bated. It is a responsibility to be acted upon. 

Chairman de Lugo announced that a separate hearing will be 
held August 3 to address the concerns of the Guam Commission on 
Self-Determination and the U.S. Virgin Islands Commission on 
Self-Determination on this resolution. I would, therefore, caution 
those attending today's hearing to remember that this resolution 
impacts very diverse territories. 



13 

We differ in size, in geography, in political development and po- 
litical aspirations. We share in common only what we lack in com- 
mon, a final realization of our political destinies. 

I commend the people of Puerto Rico in their pursuit of improv- 
ing their political relationship with the United States. I look for- 
ward to the day when all territories will have achieved their des- 
tinies. 

I commend Congressman Serrano for bringing this issue to the 
Floor and for allowing this discussion to occur. I commend the 
Chair and my colleagues on the Committee, notably Carlos Ro- 
mero-Barcelo for hosting and participating in this discussion and 
for allowing us to confront these difficult issues. 

Mr. DE Lugo. I thank the gentleman from Guam for that state- 
ment. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Underwood follows:] 

Statement of Congressman Robert A. Underwood 

Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this hearing on H. Con. Res. 94, 
expressing the sense of Congress regarding the expression of self-determination by 
the people of Puerto Rico. 

It is significant to note that while this resolution is primarily focused on Puerto 
Rico and their upcoming status plebescite, the expression of support of the right of 
self-determination of all non-self governing territories is of paramount importance 
to Guam. 

I want to unequivocally state the assertion of the People of Guam to their inher- 
ent right to self determination. Congress should support this right on Guam, in 
Puerto Rico, and in other territories where the people seek to fulfill their political 
destinies. Moreover, Congress would be wise to facilitate the exercise of these rights. 
Once the people have decided on their own futures, I would hope that this Congress 
would support the will of the people of the territories. The people of Guam have 
voted to establish a new commonwealth, and I have introduced legislation to enact 
their desires in H.R. 1521. 

All too often the discussions on political status revolve around the dynamics of 
big versus small, strong versus weak, east versus west, and us versus them. I hope 
that the dialogue today will contribute to a new understanding in Congress of the 
desires of the people of the territories, and the importance of affirming basic human 
rights values instead of political advantage. 

The United States, as a signatory of the United Nations charter, and the Con- 
gress, in ratifying this treaty, affirmed the right of self-determination for all non- 
self-governing territories. At the end of World War II, the process of self-determina- 
tion worked well for some American territories, but unfortunately, for others, the 
Cold War intervened in their progress. 

The Cold War is over. It is no longer a question of balancing national interests 
with the interest of the people of the territories. The new reality is that is in the 
national interest to recognize self-determination for the territories. It is in the na- 
tional interest to recognize a right so fundamentally basic to the American concept 
of democracy, that it is even inscribed on the walls of the U.S. Capitol. As William 
Henry Harrison, himself a former Territorial delegate, admonishes us, "the only le- 
gitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the consent of the gov- 
erned." 

For this Congress, and for this great nation, the recognition of the right of self- 
determination for the American flag territories is not an issue to be debated; it is 
a responsibility to be acted upon. 

Chairman de Lugo announced that a separate hearing will be held on August 3rd 
to address the concerns of the Guam Commission on Self-Determination and the 
U.S. Virgin Islands Commission on Self-Determination on this resolution. I therefore 
would caution those attending today's hearing to remember that this resolution im- 
pacts very diverse territories; we differ in size, geography, political development and 
political aspirations. We share in common only what we lack in common — a final 
realization of our political destinies. 

I commend the people of Puerto Rico in their pursuit of improving their political 
relationship with the United States and I look forward to the day when all terri- 
tories will have achieved their destinies. 



14 

Mr. DE Lugo. Let me invite the first witness, the sponsor of this 
resolution, the distinguished gentleman from New York to join us 
at the witness table. 

Before we begin to take testimony, let the Chair outline our 
hearing plans. 

First, there will be an additional hearing on this measure as re- 
ferred to by the gentlemen from Guam. One reason is that al- 
though the purpose of the Serrano Resolution is to express views 
regarding Puerto Rican self-determination, it would also affirm the 
Congress' commitment toward self-determination in general. While 
declaring that the interests of the inhabitants are the primary con- 
sideration in nonself-governing territories. 

Since these statements go well beyond Puerto Rico to include 
other areas, such as the Virgin Islands, which I represent, and 
Guam, there is a hearing on August 3, regarding their application 
to the other insular areas. 

For a similar reason, the Foreign Affairs Committee also has 
some jurisdiction regarding this measure. Of the 18 areas officially 
considered by the United Nations to be nonself-governing, 14 are 
under foreign control. The four areas for which the United States 
is responsible are American Samoa, Guam, Palav, and the United 
States Virgin Islands. 

Incidentally, speaking about the Virgin Islands, I want to recog- 
nize a constituent of mine who is here this morning. I flew up with 
him on the plane and he was due to go back to the territory today, 
but I was able to persuade him to stay on. He is a young man who 
ran for the Senate in the last election and came within four votes 
of being elected. His name is Ally Petris. 

Ally, would you stand up? 

We are glad to have you here today. 

He is definitely a future leader of the Virgin Islands. 

We will also need to meet again to hear the position of the Clin- 
ton administration. This could be August 3, or another date, pos- 
sibly sooner, depending on the confirmation of the proposed wit- 
ness, Walter Dellinger as Assistant Attorney General. 

The President's Office is responsible for issues related to Puerto 
Rico's status, but it traditionally assigns an official of the adminis- 
tration to represent it before us. 

The White House Chief of Staff, Mr. McLarty, initially told me 
that the administration would be represented today through a wit- 
ness designated by Secretary Babbitt of the Interior Department. 
But they later decided to send a representative of the Justice De- 
partment, after representatives of Puerto Rico expressed concern 
about the assignment to Interior. 

The concern was related to Puerto Rico's issues having been 
transferred from Interior to the President's Office in 1961. The 
delay in the administration's position should not delay our consid- 
eration of the Serrano resolution since we are already aware of the 
fact that an additional hearing is scheduled. 

I want to express our appreciation to Mr. McLarty and also to 
another very effective and good friend in the White House, Ms. Lil- 
lian Fernandez, who is with us here today, for responding to legiti- 
mate Puerto Rican concerns. I hope the reassignment will finally 



15 

indicate the focus of these issues that I mentioned earlier was 
needed. 

Before we begin with our first witness, we have a lot of people 
standing back here and we have some empty chairs here. Let me 
invite those who are standing to come forward and take the seats 
on the lower tier. If you will do that quietly, make yourself com- 
fortable as guests of this Committee. 

Our first witness will be Congressman Serrano. He will be fol- 
lowed by three other distinguished Members of Congress. Next we 
will have representatives of the Governor and three major political 
parties in Puerto Rico, all of which advocate a different status op- 
tion. 

After they have been questioned by the members of the Commit- 
tee, we will have a half hour break for lunch. It will only be a half 
hour because we have so many witnesses. When we return, we will 
hear from other witnesses. 

Because we want all testifying to receive a fair hearing, all wit- 
nesses should summarize their statements to the amount of time 
that the staff has asked them. You will see some lights on the wit- 
ness table. The green light should go on when they begin and they 
should end their statement within one minute after the red light 
goes on. A bell will indicate the end of this minute. This will begin 
after Members of Congress have spoken, of course. 

Let me welcome our first witness, as I said, he is the proponent 
of the resolution, a very good friend, and someone I admire. He is 
the outstanding Puerto Rican representative, and a respected 
Member of the House. He has also served on the very exclusive and 
powerful Appropriations Committee. 

He is our leader as Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus. As I said, 
he has done a real national service in sponsoring this resolution 
and raising the issue with our great President. 

Let me welcome my friend and the Committee's friend, Jose 
Serrano from New York and Puerto Rico. 

STATEMENT OF HON. JOSE SERRANO, A REPRESENTATIVE IN 
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK 

Mr. Serrano. Thank you for that clarification about the two 
places I belong to. 

Secondly, I want to thank all the brothers and sisters from Puer- 
to Rico for joining us today here on All-Star Game Day, where to- 
night Ivan Rodriguez, Roberto Alomar, and Juan Gonzales will 
definitely win the game for the American League, and that is a 
prediction that I make and the only one I will make today. 

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this hearing and 
for providing the opportunity for debate and discussion of a resolu- 
tion vital to our Nation's integrity. My resolution is short. Its pur- 
pose is clear. Simply, our Nation has a historical commitment to 
the right of a people to self-determination. 

With this resolution, Congress reaffirms that right with respect 
to the people of Puerto Rico. It is that simple. 

May I immediately ask our friends in the media, to please try to 
consider the fact that it seems that every interview I hear, even 
those placed before me, always go back to discussing the November 
14 plebiscite. 



16 

This resolution speaks to self-determination and our statement 
in Congress. Whether there is a plebiscite or not, it is a right the 
people have and a statement this Congress has to make. 

It is important to note that this resolution does "not," implicitly 
or expressly, prefer any option which may or may not be put before 
the people of Puerto Rico during a referendum. It neither estab- 
lishes nor prefers a process by which this expression of self-deter- 
mination will be realized. To the many observers who have found 
hidden meanings and intimations and nuances, none was intended. 

It was interesting to note, Mr. Chairman, that in the politics of 
Puerto Rico in one given day, I had Statehooders saying that my 
mention of the U.N. meant that the resolution favored independ- 
ence. I had members of the Socialist Party suggesting that my lack 
of statement of a Puerto Rican nationality meant that I was in ca- 
hoots with the Statehooders, and I had the Populists saying that 
the resolution didn't mean anything and was not going anywhere 
in the first place. 

The apparent concern of some that I have drafted this resolution 
to prejudice the chances of one status or another, is a fear which 
is natural for people living in a colony. 

Let me make my last aside, Mr. Chairman, by sort of offering an 
apology to members of the Popular Democratic Party for always 
taking it back when I used the word "colony." I do that with a spe- 
cial feeling today because the gentleman who speaks on behalf of 
that option today is a man who shares a name with me, Jose 
Enrique. 

Just to alert the Committee to the fact that the reason that my 
name is Jose Enrique, is because his father was a doctor in my 
home town who did not charge the poor. My mother was too poor 
to pay him. As a tribute to him, I was Jose Enrique, and history 
would have it that we share the same podium today, named after 
both my father and his father. 

I call Puerto Rico a colony because as a Member of Congress, 
that is how I see it. I never really realized, in my opinion, that it 
was a colony until I came to Congress and realized that everything 
that happens on the island has to be approved by this Congress 
and that this Congress can do what it wishes, whenever it wishes, 
and how it wishes. 

So the word is not meant to hurt anybody. The word is simply, 
in my opinion, a fact and a reality today. 

I introduced this resolution with a deep sense of regret about the 
hypocrisy with which our government treats Puerto Rico. 

I speak to you as a Puerto Rican, as a United States citizen and 
as a congressman, roles which are, in this context, in conflict. As 
a Puerto Rican, I am resentful that the Congress of the United 
States — the greatest, most free nation on earth — will not recognize 
my right to decide my political future. 

As a United States citizen, I can not understand the distinction 
which my government makes between my rights as a citizen and 
those of the citizens on the island on which I was born. 

As a Congressman, I am ashamed of the hypocrisy of the policy 
of the government of which I am a part, a policy which promotes 
the rights of people around the world to a full and free expression 
of their political aspirations but denies it to the people of Puerto 



17 

Rico. I am ashamed that this Nation grants to my brothers and sis- 
ters in Puerto Rico the right to fight and die for the United States 
but refuses to them the basic human right to determine their politi- 
cal future. 

It heightens the shame of this government that we require my 
island nation of 3.6 million people to come before the Congress to 
ask for legal authorization to conduct an enforceable plebiscite on 
its future. Isn't it time to recognize the relationship between Puerto 
Rico and the United States for what it is, clearly and without the 
rationalizations and embellishments that have sustained this un- 
tenable policy for nearly a century? 

Without a clear recognition of what this relationship truly is, it 
is difficult for Americans residing in the 50 States to understand 
the moral urgency of change. The United States relationship to 
Puerto Rico is a tragic vestige of colonialism and paternalism, a re- 
lationship we abhor when we witness it among other nations and 
peoples. It is the relationship of the conqueror to the conquered. 

Carlos Romero-Barcelo, in his statement, said that we don't need 
to ask permission to hold a plebiscite, that we should not ask per- 
mission. I want to reiterate my position on this. 

I am saying that no matter what decision is made on the island, 
this Congress has the responsibility to state at any time, and I 
think the time is right now, that it will respect that decision. 

Senator Moynihan aptly describes Puerto Rico as "A prize of colo- 
nial war taken from Spain in 1898." In 1917, Congress, in the 
Jones Act, conferred upon the people of Puerto Rico United States 
citizenship. The people of Puerto Rico neither concurred in nor 
passed upon the question of citizenship. 

Commonwealth status was established in 1952. This time, Con- 
gress subjected the change imposed upon Puerto Rico to the vote 
of its people, giving them only the choice of voting yes or no to the 
status offered to them by the Congress. 

Puerto Rico is not self-governing. Its laws are subject to the will 
of Congress. Though Puerto Rico has been given the "right" to 
adopt local self-government, such government must operate subject 
to the power of Congress. 

Article 73 of the United Nations Charter, to which the United 
States is a signatory, reads: 

Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the ad- 
ministration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of 
self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these 
territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote 
to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by 
the present charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories. 

I urge this Committee to adhere to our commitments, to give 
meaning to our international pronouncements, to reclaim our right- 
ful place as a moral leader. We have no credibility in the world if 
we fail to practice what we preach; if we carry the shame of con- 
tinuing to deny to a people their basic human right of political self- 
determination. 

The people of Puerto Rico should no longer have to ask for our 
sanction. This is a right that is ours. 



18 

Mr. Chairman, I conclude, and once again thank you for the op- 
portunity to speak before you. I stand ready to answer any ques- 
tions. 

I should remind the panel and ourselves, all of us, that the time 
is right for this decision to be made. The world has changed. We 
claim that we have played a major role in making the world 
change. Now we have to adhere to our own pronouncements and 
accept from the people of Puerto Rico their decision for the future. 

Lastly, when I speak about the people of Puerto Rico, I person- 
ally speak about a nation of people, a nation of people that includes 
those of us who left the island because we wanted to, which I think 
is about .0001 percent, and those of us who were brought here by 
our parents or who came here as adults looking for a new way to 
live in very difficult conditions. 

We never stopped being Puerto Ricans, we are one nation of peo- 
ple. But when the final decision is made, we think we should all 
make it altogether. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Serrano follows:] 

Statement of the Hon. Jose E. Serrano 

Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Insular and 
International Affairs for providing this opportunity for debate and discussion of a 
resolution vital to our nation's integrity. 

My resolution is short, its purpose clear. Simply, our nation has an historical com- 
mitment to the right of a people to self-determination. With this resolution, Con- 
gress reaffirms that right with respect to the people of Puerto Rico. It is that simple. 

It is important to note that this resolution does not, implicitly or expressly, prefer 
any option which may or may not be put before the people of Puerto Rico during 
a referendum. It neither establishes nor prefers a process by which this expression 
of self-determination will be realized. To the many observers who have found hidden 
meanings and intimations and nuances, none was intended. The apparent concern 
of some that I have drafted this resolution to prejudice the changes of one status 
or another, is a fear which is natural for people living in a colony. 

I introduced this resolution with a deep sense of regret about the hypocrisy with 
which our Government treats Puerto Rico. 

I speak to you as a Puerto Rican, as a United States citizen and as a Congress- 
man, roles which are, in this context, in conflict. 

As a Puerto Rican, I am resentful that the Congress of the United States — the 
greatest, most free nation on earth — will not recognize my right to decide my politi- 
cal future. 

As a United States citizen, I can not understand the distinction which my Govern- 
ment makes between my rights as a citizen and those of the citizens on the island 
on which I was born. 

As a Congressman, I am ashamed of the hypocrisy of the policy of the Govern- 
ment of which I am a part, a policy which promotes the rights of people around the 
world to a full and free expression of their political aspirations but denies it to the 
people of Puerto Rico. 

I am ashamed that this Nation grants to my brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico 
the right to fight and die for the United States but refuses to them the basic human 
right to determine their political future. 

It heightens the shame of this Government that we require my island nation of 
3.6 million people to come before the Congress to ask for legal authorization to con- 
duct an enforceable plebiscite on its future. 

Isn't it time to recognize the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United 
States for what it is, clearly and without the rationalizations and embellishments 
that have sustained this untenable policy for nearly a century? 

Without a clear recognition of what this relationship truly is, it is difficult for 
Americans residing in the fifty States to understand the moral urgency of change. 

The United States relationship to Puerto Rico is a tragic vestige of colonialism 
and paternalism, a relationship we abhor when we witness it among other nations 
and peoples. 

It is the relationship of the conqueror to the conquered. 



19 

Senator Moynihan aptly describes Puerto Rico as "a prize of Colonial war taken 
from Spain in 1898." In 1917, Congress (in the Jones Act), conferred upon the people 
of Puerto Rico United States citizenship. The people of Puerto Rico neither con- 
curred in nor passed upon the question of citizenship. 

Commonwealth status was established in 1952. This time, Congress subjected the 
change imposed upon Puerto Rico to the vote of its people, giving them only the 
choice of voting yes or no to the status offered to them by the Congress. Puerto Rico 
is not self-governing. Its laws are subject to the will of Congress. Though Puerto 
Rico has been given the "right" to adopt local self-government, such government 
must operate subject to the power of Congress. 

Article 73 of the United Nations charter, to which the United States is a signa- 
tory, reads: Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities 
for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full meas- 
ure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants 
of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to 
promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security estab- 
lished by the present charter, the wellbeing of the inhabitants of these territories. 

I urge this committtee to adhere to our commitments, to give meaning to our 
international pronouncements, to reclaim our rightful place as a moral leader. 

We have no credibility in the world if we fail to practice what we preach; if we 
carry the shame of continuing to deny to a people their basic human right of politi- 
cal self-determination. 

The people of Puerto Rico should no longer have to ask for our sanction. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you very much, Congressman Serrano, for 
a moving statement on behalf of your resolution. 

I will ask just one question before I yield to the other Members 
for questions. 

If the resolution passes, could Congress morally do anything 
other than implement the status which obtains the most votes in 
November? 

Mr. Serrano. Congress, unfortunately for the people of Puerto 
Rico, could do whatever it pleases. It could ignore whatever hap- 
pens. But I think morally what Congress has to do is to deal with 
the issue. Congress has to, as a representative of the people, reach 
a determination of what is in the best interest of both people. 

Unfortunately, what I think will happen eventually is that Con- 
gress will determine what is in the best interest of Congress and 
the best interests of the American Nation and deal with Puerto 
Rico in that way. 

But the fact of life is that Congress' moral obligation, in my opin- 
ion, is not to put the issue aside any longer but to deal with it in 
the context of a changing world. 

Mr. de Lugo. Is there a problem with the nearing plebiscite in 
that it does not require a set percentage of the votes, such as a 
clear majority to select a status? 

Could a status claim to win with as little as 33V3 percent of the 
vote, plus one, and should it be implemented if a particular status 
were to be endorsed by 33 percent of the people of Puerto Rico, plus 
one? 

Mr. Serrano. Well, I did not agree with Congressman Romero- 
Barcelo in his statement that we should not have to ask permis- 
sion. I do agree with that part of his statement that says that this 
is the beginning of a process. 

Anything, in my opinion, that puts the issue of Puerto Rico's re- 
lationship with the United States on the table and does not allow 
it to go away, is a good step, whether it be a plebiscite, whether 
it be a discussion before the U.N. or whether it be a discussion by 



20 

people bringing in 3 billion signatures, or whether it be my resolu- 
tion. 

I think any time you put on the table the issue of this unique 
or sad relationship, you are doing something positive, in my opin- 
ion. 

The plebiscite, as far as I am concerned, plays a role. I would like 
a plebiscite that would allow me to vote in it. 

I would like a plebiscite where Congress has already agreed to 
do this or that. But it doesn't matter. Whatever takes place around 
this issue will appear, hopefully, on some pages of some news- 
papers in this country and alert people to the fact that there is a 
need to deal with this issue. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Do you think that the President will actively en- 
courage and participate in the implementation of the status deci- 
sion made in the plebiscite? You have been quoted as saying the 
President agreed with your request to encourage Congress to ac- 
cept the will of the people of Puerto Rico regarding the future sta- 
tus. 

Although he has not done that clearly yet, he has reiterated his 
support of self-determination for the people. You know, a big prob- 
lem in the effort to legislate here between 1989 and 1991, was that 
although President Bush made a number of public statements, his 
administration was not truly engaged and aggressive in the proc- 
ess. 

Do you think that the current administration will be? 

Mr. Serrano. Let me first say to you that, as you know, I am 
a very strong supporter of the President. But this President is no 
different than past Presidents, in one regard, and that is that there 
is very little information in the White House and in some of the 
halls of Congress about the relationship between Puerto Rico and 
the United States. 

It might be that the one issue I truly agree with the 
Statehooders on is that that is an issue of how the United States 
sees the relationship as one that has to come from the island. More 
and more lobbying, either from the Independents or the 
Statehooders or the Commonwealthers, to the issue. There is no in- 
formation here. 

This President is not acting any differently than the other two 
recent Presidents. There is just not enough information. 

This year, a newspaper in Puerto Rico won an award for a comic, 
a cartoon it did of me. It depicted me being told by a couple of con- 
gressmen: "Next time you go to Puerto Rico bring back some 
stamps and some coins for my collection." 

Well that is a fact of life. When my father passed away in 1982, 
God rest his soul, the American flag and the Puerto Rico flag were 
on his casket. An assemblyman from New York asked me, what is 
the American flag doing on your father's casket? I said, well, he 
was a member of the Armed Forces. He said, "Oh, okay." Half an 
hour later, he came back to me and said that he never knew that 
the Puerto Rican Army used the American flag. 

What probably all three or four or five different groups in Puerto 
Rico could agree on is that the information will have to come to the 
island as to the urgency of the problem because it becomes difficult 



21 

here to convince people that there is a problem we have to deal 
with. 
Mr. de Lugo. The gentlemen from Puerto Rico. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 
Before we get on to the subject matter, you talked about the ball 
players in the All-Star Game. I don't think there is a single State 
of the Union that has as many players in the All-Star Game as we 
do, particularly in the American League. 

I would like to take this opportunity also, since you are talking 
about Puerto Rico, to give special recognition to the women in 
Puerto Rico who in the past year have succeeded tremendously in 
completely different fields. Miss Universe is a Puerto Rican. We 
have the first woman pilot, who is a Puerto Rican, and now also 
the winner of the Tennis Gold Medal in Doubles in the Olympics 
and Wimbleton is also Puerto Rican. Those are three outstanding 
achievements in sports, in defense, and other competitions in 
beauty. 

Mr. Serrano. Don't forget the hard-hitting left-fielder, Emilio 
Velazcas from New York. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And Ms. Velazquez, the first Puerto Rican 
woman to be elected to Congress. When you talk about the dif- 
ferences of the focus of your resolution and where I come from, I 
want to be sure that you understand and that everyone here under- 
stands that if I were in your shoes, if I were in your position, if 
I were a voting congressman, I would assume your position de- 
manding that the Nation express what they are going to do about 
Puerto Rico. 

But coming from Puerto Rico, where I have no right to vote, I 
must also insist that our people be the first to make that decision 
and to not be afraid of making that decision without an expression 
from Congress. This is from a different perspective. 

I agree with what you are doing, from your point of view, but I 
must also, from my point of view, make sure that the people of 
Puerto Rico are not intimidated to not make a decision until the 
Congress first expresses its will. 

I want to congratulate you on what I consider a very, very apt 
statement that you have made here. When you said as a United 
States citizen, no, you said: I introduced this resolution with a deep 
sense of much regret about the hypocrisy with which our govern- 
ment treats Puerto Rico. The whole system, the whole relationship 
is hypocrisy, because it says it is what it is not. It gives us dignity, 
and how can the status of commonwealth give us dignity, when it 
cannot give us dignity as citizens in a democracy. 

I have no questions of you, Mr. Serrano. I agree 100 percent with 
what you have said. I think that these hearings are going to be 
very productive in the sense of putting the issue on the table in 
Congress. 

There is an area of disagreement between you and I. It is a very 
honest disagreement. I don't know how strongly you feel about it, 
but I think it should be aired out a little bit. It is about the partici- 
pation of Puerto Ricans who do not reside in Puerto Rico, who live 
on the mainland. 

I know how strongly you and many, many Puerto Ricans feel 
about it. 



22 

The problem with that is, first of all, and I am asking you, once 
Puerto Rico makes a decision, are you going to move to Puerto 
Rico? You probably would say — what, in fact, would be your an- 
swer? 

Mr. Serrano. Well, I am not a lawyer, but you taught me 
enough about being a lawyer that I would then answer a question 
with a question. Are you going to ask people who were not born in 
Puerto Rico who live there, that once they vote or make a decision, 
are they going to stay there the rest of their lives? You don't know 
that for a fact either. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It is presumed. You presume that things 
continue as they are. That is a presumption. 

Mr. Serrano. There is a great number of Puerto Ricans who will 
not return, that is a fact. It is physically impossible to do so. But 
when I go around to some of the older voters in my district, the 
dream of returning has never left them. Many, in fact, do. 

As you know, you, I and Nydia have a very dear friend who is 
as Puerto Rican-New York as you can get, who helped create 
Desfina and everything else, and the only thing on Monserata Flo- 
res' mind when he retires next year, is going back to Puerto Rico. 
Now I would have bet 10 years ago that that was never going to 
happen, that he was not going to go back. So there is no way to 
tell you that I will go back or not go back. 

But if you see it as a nation, as I do, you really don't have to 
go back to be involved in the struggle. The South Bronx is as much 
a struggle of the Puerto Rican people as Chicago is, as Brooklyn 
is or San Juan or Myaquez. It is one nation of people with the 
same struggle everywhere. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Culturally, we are one nation, but politi- 
cally the nation is the United States. There is a difference of defini- 
tion in political terms or legal terms, Constitutional terms and cul- 
tural terms. What is a nation in cultural terms, is not a nation 
from a geopolitical sense. 

Mr. Serrano. I understand that, congressman, but there are 
some things that cannot be discussed from a legal term. You don't 
discuss a peoples' feelings from a legal term. I never stopped being 
a Puerto Rican. My mother and father were buried at St. Ray- 
mond's Cemetery, and if they could be spoken to right now, they 
would tell you they never stopped being Puerto Ricans. So it really 
doesn't matter where you live for this question. 

I would never assume to suggest that I would vote for governor 
of the island, never, or for a local assemblyman or a Senator. But 
this is the future of a people that were separated, not out of desire 
to be separated, but by conditions caused because of the relation- 
ship between two groups of people who are now trying to determine 
what that future is going to be for both of them. 

In other words, I am in New York, as much as I love being in 
New York, but I am in New York as a result of an economic condi- 
tion in Puerto Rico which was the result of a relationship between 
the United States and Puerto Rico. When that relationship is deter- 
mined forever perhaps, I don't see why I should be left out of that 
issue. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Because the probability is that you and 
most others like you will not be returning to Puerto Rico once the 



23 

decision is made. The effects, both economically, politically will be 
suffered directly and every day by those who remain in Puerto 
Rico, who are the ones who live in Puerto Rico, who, because of 
their economic conditions, because of their jobs, because of the rela- 
tionships at home, that they will not be moving from Puerto Rico, 
no matter what happens, even if they don't like the decision. 

Whereas from the mainland, you have much greater options to 
move or not to move to Puerto Rico, if you like the decision or not. 

Talking about the confusion that sometimes we have of the sta- 
tus, I will never forget the time I was in Boston and I was in a 
taxicab. I started to talk with the cab driver about the status of 
Puerto Rico. He said he was a Nationalista, which is an independ- 
ence advocate, those who want a fascist revolution to establish an 
independent nation. 

We kept on talking and he said, "But in the plebiscite, you have 
to vote for statehood." So he was a Nationalista saying, you have 
to vote the statehood. How can you relate to that? It is real confu- 
sion. 

Now you have a people who live here, who have their roots here 
economically and their family roots, their children, people who love 
Puerto Rico, and their children love Puerto Rico, but sometimes the 
children hardly speak Spanish and they are not going to move to 
Puerto Rico. Their families are going to be here. 

Others in Puerto Rico, their families are going to be there, most 
probably, and their grandchildren are going to be there. They feel 
that why should somebody who is not going to be affected by the 
decision, even though they are my cousins and my people, why 
should they have something to say about the final decision? I think 
this should be understood. 

Mr. Serrano. My resolution, Mr. Congressman, speaks only to 
self-determination. How that self-determination is then carried out 
and respected is left for future days to discuss. But since you did 
bring it up and it is going to come up again for other Members of 
Congress, I will make you a deal, don't let anybody who was not 
born there, who lives there now, vote, and I will stop pressing my 
part of the issue. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. When you make a choice to become a citi- 
zen, you get naturalized. 

Mr. Serrano. No, that is an American citizenship. On one hand, 
we are talking about a people, and on the other hand, you are tell- 
ing me that you are going to conduct your plebiscite based on Unit- 
ed States' law. The law of a people does not cover any other law, 
and if people were not born there, and you are telling me they are 
covered by U.S. law because they are a citizen, then let me be cov- 
ered by human law, which says I was born there, but I am not cov- 
ered by your local law. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The problem is that we live in a system 
of laws. We do not live outside the laws. If we want to have order 
in our society, there must be a system of laws. Laws are estab- 
lished precisely to determine the relationship between people and 
not leave it up to themselves as to their wishes. They are trying 
to make the decision applicable to all and try to have everything 
as fair as possible. 



24 

That is why the laws exist. If we don't abide by the laws then 
the plebiscite would not be legal. To open the door to participation 
of people who do not reside in Puerto Rico would create a situation 
where there would be lawsuits questioning the validity of that pleb- 
iscite and that would affect the plebiscite itself. 

That is our greatest concern, that the validity of the plebiscite 
should not be questioned. 

Mr. de Lugo. Gentlemen, we have a number of other witnesses. 

Mr. Rangel has a conflict. As you know, he is on the Conference 
Committee on Reconciliation. 

But I have one final question I would like to ask the witness and 
then we will hear from our next witness. 

Congressman Serrano, the Puerto Rico administration has indi- 
cated that a resolution is unnecessary. How would you respond to 
that? 

Mr. Serrano. That a resolution is unnecessary? Again, we have 
different roles that we play as one people. There are some on the 
island who feel that is it not necessary for Congress to say whether 
or not they respect it. 

As an American congressman, it bothers me that the government 
where I am a congressman still has colonies in the Caribbean or 
anywhere else in the world. Therefore, it is important to me as an 
American congressman to have my government make a comment 
about the place where I was born. 

The fact media needs an eyeful in that unique situation, and we 
are talking about us to us, but that is the way it is. That is the 
way it has to be. I don't think it is wrong. 

Mr. Chairman, before I leave this seat, I would like to take 30 
seconds to say that Congressman Barcelo used the word 
"Nationalista" in a way that he saw it. Growing up in the South 
Bronx, where we were different from other people, "Nationalista" 
to us meant upholding what was Puerto Rican. 

Maybe it was eating fruit that came from the island or trying to 
speak our language that we did not do very well. Maybe it was lis- 
tening to music we had to buy, rather than hear around us from 
our grandparents, but we tried to stay Puerto Ricans. That is what 
"Nationalista" meant to us. 

When we came to New York, we could not find banana leaves to 
wrap our food, so we learned to wrap them in good white paper 
with string. We changed the outside, but we never changed the in- 
side. 

Thank you. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Very well said. 

Will you join us on the Committee? 

You know, ladies and gentlemen, the Resident Commissioner of- 
ficially represents Puerto Rico in the House, of course. But now 
there is a far larger Puerto Rican Caucus, including three other 
Members from the States, originally from Puerto Rico. Before there 
was a caucus, there was a Representative for Puerto Rico from a 
State and he is our next witness, the Honorable Charles Rangel 
from New York. 

He has consistently fought to ensure the needs of Puerto Rican 
people are met, especially in the Ways and Means Committee of 



25 

which he is a very, very powerful Member. He will return there 
after making his statement at this time. 

He has a broad perspective on the issues concerning the island 
and their interrelationship that was well-stated in a recent letter 
to the President of the United States, asking that the 936 tax 
issue, be considered in the context of the island's situation as a 
whole. 

It is my pleasure as Chairman of this Committee to welcome one 
of the ablest Members of this House and one of my best friends, 
one whom I admire the most, just a great person, Charles Range! 
of New York. 

STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL, A REPRESENTA- 
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK 

Mr. Rangel. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues and my friends from Puerto Rico, 
thank you for extending to me the courtesy of allowing me to come 
in support of Serrano resolution. 

We are fortunate to have a Chair such as you to preside over a 
delicate question such as this that has been around our country for 
decades and yet not decided. I think the height of your integrity 
was reached by your first question when you asked Congressman 
Serrano as to whether or not the United States had a moral obliga- 
tion to abide by the feelings of the people in Puerto Rico. 

There are some people that truly believe that our national lead- 
ers have found it so easy to say that we should abide by that deci- 
sion because they thought that no decision would ever be reached. 
The closer we come to seeing this issue discussed, the more I see 
sometimes the goal posts being moved back and the rules being 
changed. 

So whatever is going to happen, and Joe Serrano said it, it is 
going to be what is in the self interest of the people who are mak- 
ing the decision. 

I think that would even follow through, Joe, in determining who 
was allowed to vote to make that decision, even though I enjoyed 
the discussion between you and my friend, Carlos, a lot better. 

But I am certain that people are going to decide which way they 
think the vote is going to go and then the decisions about who par- 
ticipates, much like we do at reapportionment. 

Nevertheless, I think this is very important that we stand up for 
other nations, to show that we do have the integrity in this country 
to allow a level playing field and to test the integrity of these Unit- 
ed States as we assume a world leadership rule in setting the 
standards of what is democracy. 

I ask for permission from the Chair and the Committee to intro- 
duce my full statement in the record and to highlight my remarks. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Without objection, your entire statement will be 
placed in the record at this point. 

Mr. Rangel. Because since I prepared this statement, I have 
been asked, invited to Puerto Rico by my friend, the former gov- 
ernor and Congressman from Puerto Rico, and the current gov- 
ernor, Governor Rossello to bring remarks to the 4th of July cele- 
bration that was taking place in San Juan. 



26 

I was there to also deliver a letter from President Clinton con- 
gratulating the Government of Puerto Rico and also pointing out 
that Americans, wherever they are located, have to be treated 
equally and certainly that is a feeling that we have. But when we 
look at all of our citizens that are denied the opportunity in the 
District of Columbia, in Puerto Rico and other areas, to be citizens 
without all of the rights, to me that is, as a lawyer, is like being 
half pregnant. I don't know how it is understood. 

Nevertheless, I was reminded at that time, when the drums were 
played, trumpets were blasting and the flags were unfurled, of the 
fact that I was once a foot soldier in the Second Infantry Division. 
Every time I hear a marching band, some part of me gets excited. 

But for some reason, when it was the marching band in Puerto 
Rico, the thing that came to mind was some 43 years ago being in 
North Korea, in the height of winter and being engaged in combat 
with the Chinese volunteer army and remembering the Puerto 
Rican 15th Regiment as they fought side by side with the 2nd In- 
fantry Division in what was a losing battle, but to see how patrioti- 
cally they fought, to receive the battle stars they won, to see the 
Purple Hearts and the medals of valor that they were awarded. 

I could not in Puerto Rico not but think, how could these war- 
riors return to their home in Puerto Rico with all of the pride that 
their nation and their family had for them and face the fact that 
they could not even vote for the Commander-in-Chief; that the 
services that could be rendered to their grandmothers or to their 
parents or their children had to be substandard, and yet, statistics 
will prove that the demands that our country made of them were 
far more than what was made of most Americans. 

If you took the time to see the composition of those that serve 
in combat as a foot soldier as compared to those who fly and those 
in the rear, you would find that the least powerful Americans are 
the ones who are up front. Yet when they return home, they are 
the ones that are first denied. 

So, it just seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that even if we did not 
want to do this for the people of Puerto Rico, for whatever biases 
we have, that we owe it to our great Nation to get on with this 
process and to stop apologizing to the United Nations or to un- 
friendly nations who believe that we can treat American citizens 
the way that we do. 

There is no way to explain why infant mortality is so high in the 
island of Puerto Rico. There is no way to explain why our medicaid 
and our other health programs are so different when we are talk- 
ing about American citizens. We cannot even talk about the quality 
of life when we know as a fact that the highest mortality in hos- 
pitals throughout the United States can be found in Puerto Rico. 

We also know that in spite of all of this, with all of the friends 
that I have gained as being a supporter of 936, that even when we 
talk about this being the key legislation, that no matter what party 
you belong to, you have a definite view as to what should be sup- 
ported, in all of the years that it has been discussed, and I have 
supported it, we never talk about the quality of life. 

Even today as I leave here to go into conference, the welfare of 
Puerto Ricans will not be discussed as much as the tax benefits 
that will be allocated to firms that go to Puerto Rico, not how many 



27 

lives are going to be saved, how much medicine is going to be 
there, which I find inconsistent, with or without the tax credits, to 
just ignore that where you are born, no matter what power of Unit- 
ed States citizenship you enjoy, will determine the quality of life 
that we will determine by our allocations of resources in the United 
States Congress. 

So, I would really be concerned, Mr. Chairman, in testing the 
leadership that we have in this country and in this Congress. 

I conclude by telling a story at the risk of embarrassing Con- 
gressman Serrano. But in the first few days that he came to Con- 
gress, he used to treat me with a great deal of respect. Hardly any- 
thing would occur that he did not come to me and question what 
was happening and what was the historic institutional value of 
what was happening. 

One day, a group from New York was in the back of the cham- 
ber, and Jose came tense, emotional and said: I am telling you, 
Rangel, I am not going to understand this system. He said: Would 
you believe that a group of Republicans asked me the question that 
if statehood was decided by the people in Puerto Rico and the Unit- 
ed States Congress, whether or not the six or seven Members of the 
House of Representatives would come out of the 435 or will they 
be added. He was really burnt up. 

Embarrassingly, most of the New Yorkers said: What did you an- 
swer, Joe. I am certain that someone is wrestling with that ques- 
tion in the United States Senate. 

So, I think it is time for us to stop saying whatever they want. 
It is not going to be that easy, whatever you want. But if it is our 
Constitution and we believe that we made the promise, let's step 
up to the plate, as you so well said, and decide that it is in the 
best interest of the United States of America to be honest in how 
we treat our citizens. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Rangel follows:] 



28 

STATEMENT BY 
HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL 



HEARING ON THE RESOLUTION ON SELF DETERMINATION 
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INSULAR AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 



MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE, I 
APPRRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAR BEFORE THE 
SUBCOMMITTEE TO COMMENT ON THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION. 

THIS ISSUE IS OF PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE TO ME AND TO TENS OF 
THOUSANDS OF MY CONSTITUENTS WHO WERE BORN IN PUERTO RICO 
OR ARE OF PUERTO RICAN ORIGIN. I HAVE LEARNED OF THE STRONG 
EMOTIONAL TIES TO THE LAND OF THEIR ORIGIN MAINTAINED BY 
PUERTO RICANS NO MATTER HOW LONG THEY HAVE LIVED IN NEW 
YORK OR ELSEWHERE ON THE CONTINENT. 

I WOULD LIKE TO CONGRATULATE MY COLLEAGUE, MR. SERRANNO 
FOR HIS LEADERSHIP IN BRINGING THIS CRITICAL ISSUE TO THE 
ATTENTION OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WHICH FOR TOO 
LONG HAS TREATED PUERTO RICO AS A STEPCHILD. 

THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO, WHETHER THEY LIVE ON THE ISLAND 
OR ON THE MAINLAND, AT THIS TIME ARE AMERICANS AND WILL 
REMAIN SO WHETHER THEY CHOOSE CONTINUED COMMONWEALTH 
STATUS OR STATEHOOD, THEIR NATIONALITY WILL CHANGE ONLY IF 
THEY ELECT, AND ALL OBSTACLES ARE REMOVED, TO TRANSFORM 
THE ISLAND INTO AN INDEPENDENT NATION. 

AS AMERICANS, THEY HAVE PAID A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE IN 
THE LIVES OF THEIR YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING IN WARS THAT THEY 
ACCEPTED WITHOUT QUESTION. THEY HAVE BEEN HEROIC AS MEDAL 
OF HONOR WINNERS, PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS AND ALL OF THE 
ACCOLADES THAT CAN BE WON ON THE BATTLEFIELD. 



29 



HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL - 2 

WE IN THE CONGRESS SHOULD BE PROUD AND APPRECIATIVE OF 
THOSE CONTRIBUTIONS AND NEVER FORGET THEM, EVEN AS WE 
DELIBERATE THE LEGISLATION THAT IS BEFORE US TODAY. 

MANY OF MY CONSTITUENTS CAME TO LIVE ON THE MAINLAND IN 
PURSUIT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, FOR EVEN THOUGH THE 
STANDARD OF LIVING IN PUERTO RICO IS HIGHER THAN ANYWHERE 
ELSE IN THE CARIBBEAN, THE PER CAPITA INCOME IS STILL ONLY 
HALF THAT OF MISSISSIPPI, THE POOREST STATE IN THE U.S. 

AND EVEN WITH THE CONTRIBUTIONS MADE BY MAINLAND 
INDUSTRY UNDER THE 936 PROGRAM, UNEMPLOYMENT AT 17 
PERCENT IS MORE THAN TWICE THE MAINLAND LEVEL. 

INDEED 55 PERCENT OF THE PUERTO RICAN POPULATION LIVES 
UNDER POVERTY LEVEL. THAT IS A SEVEN POINT IMPROVEMENT 
FROM 1980, BUT IT STILL REPRESENTS A DISGRACE THAT POINTS TO 
THE INATTENTION GrVEN TO PUERTO RICO. 

THE INFANT MORTALITY LEVEL IN PUERTO RICO ALSO IS SHOCKING, 
16 PER 1,000 COMPARED TO A RATE ON THE MAINLAND OF 10 PER 
1000. IN THE AREA OF EDUCATION, LESS THAN HALF OF THE ADULTS 
HAVE GRADUATED FROM HIGH SHCOOL, UP FROM 39 PERCENT IN 
1979. THAT COMPARES WITH 85 PERCENT ON THE MAINLAND. 

MR. CHAIRMAN ALL OF THIS POINTS TO THE UNFAIR TREATMENT 
RECEIVED BY PUERTO RICO AT THE HANDS OF THIS GOVERNMENT 
AND THIS CONGRESS. 

THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO DESERVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR 
THEMSELVES THE STATUS UNDER WHICH THEY CHOOSE TO LIVE AND 
THE NATURE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES. 
THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS BEEN DEFERRED LONG ENOUGH. 

IN 1990 THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSED LEGISLATION 
THAT WOULD HAVE MANDATED A PLEBISCITE TO DETERMINE THE 
PUERTO RICAN PEOPLES CHOICE OF STATUS. THAT EFFORT WAS 
DEFEATED IN THE SENATE, AND NOW THE PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE 
HAVE TAKEN THE ISSUE IN THEIR OWN HANDS. 



76-006 0-94-2 



30 



HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL - 2 



THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE AND THIS CONGRESS HOPEFULLY WILL 
DEAL WITH THE ISSUE SQUARELY. 

BUT LEST WE FORGET, THE CONTINUING ISSUE, NOTWITHSTANDING 
THE ISSUE OF STATUS, IS THE ISSUE OF THE STATUS OF TREATMENT 
OF THE PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE NOW. WHATEVER THEIR CHOICE, WE 
AS A NATION MUST WORK TO SEE TO IT THAT THE PEOPLE OF 
PUERTO RICO AS LONG AS THEY ARE A PART OF THE UNITED STATES 
ARE TREATED LIKE FULL FLEDGED AMERICANS. 

THANKYOU, MR. CHAIRMAN. 



31 

Mr, de Lugo. Thank you very much, Mr Rangel. 

You know it is hard for the Chair to not applaud as you con- 
cluded your statement. You are so effective. You have stated so 
well the problem that is faced by our country. You have stated that 
we should address this as Americans, that we have a moral prob- 
lem here. 

I want to thank you very much. As I was listening to you, all I 
could think of was how very fortunate, not only the people of Puer- 
to Rico are, but the people of the Virgin Islands and the other terri- 
tories are, to have a friend such as you. Because Charlie Rangel 
is not only a very good man, but he is one tremendous politician. 
You call it as you see it. You put your finger on the nerve and you 
know how to get it done. 

I thank you very much. 

Mr. Rangel. You have been very kind, Mr. Chairman. 

Thank you. 

Mr. de Lugo. We are going to let you go because we know you 
are preparing for the conference. 

Our next witness is someone that Puerto Rico and we are very 
proud of, another Representative from New York, also originally 
from the island. She is a source of special pride, since on the occa- 
sion of her election she became the first Puerto Rican woman to 
ever serve in the Congress of the United States. 

For those following the witness list, she and Congressman 
Gutierrez have agreed to change places. 

Representative Nydia Velazquez is new here in the House. She 
has already made her impact with her concern for issues relating 
to the island and also Puerto Ricans on the mainland, in fact, all 
of the needy on the mainland. 

It is a great pleasure for the Chair to welcome you. 

Without objection, your entire statement will be placed in the 
record at this point. 

You may proceed in whatever manner you chose. 

STATEMENT OF HON. NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ, A REPRESENTA- 
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK 

Ms. Velazquez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

I just want to state for the record that I am here not because I 
won a beauty contest. 

Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the House Insular 
and International Affairs Subcommittee. I welcome the opportunity 
to appear before this Subcommittee to testify concerning House 
Concurrent Resolution 94, sponsored by my colleague and friend, 
Jose Serrano. 

I want to publicly thank Jose for taking this initiative, and what 
a difference it makes to have a Member of Congress of Puerto 
Rican descent to undertake this, for having all of us here, discuss- 
ing such an important political situation for the Puerto Rico people 
and for this Nation. 

I am also eager to discuss our ongoing struggle to establish a 
mechanism which will enable Puerto Rico to decide freely the fu- 
ture of its political relationship with the United States. As dra- 
matic changes take place on the international scene, and the Unit- 
ed States assumes new responsibilities around the globe, the issue 



32 

of the status of Puerto Rico continues to be too low a priority for 
the Federal Government. 

As the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the United States 
House of Representatives, I strongly support the United Nations 
recognition of the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to 
setf-determination and independence. The most significant obstacle 
to Puerto Rican self-determination has not been the inability of 
Puerto Ricans to express themselves by plebiscite, referendum, con- 
stitutional convention or other forms of consultation; on six dif- 
ferent occasions since 1868, the people of Puerto Rico have ex- 
pressed their desire regarding the island's future. It has rather 
been the unwillingness of the United States Government to come 
to terms with its responsibility to abide by a true process of self- 
determination for Puerto Rico. 

This resistance on the part of the United States has taken many 
forms, the most common of which is the insistence that the prob- 
lem is based on Puerto Rico's inability to decide between common- 
wealth, statehood, or independence. This position has enabled the 
United States to avoid having to come to terms with the develop- 
ment of a coherent policy concerning Puerto Rico. 

This resistance to address the Puerto Rican status problem head 
on is as old as the U.S. presence in Puerto Rico. It has been fueled 
by this country's view of Puerto Rico as a key element in the geo- 
political designs of the United States in the region. 

Puerto Rico has consistently been viewed as a military and naval 
outpost, essential to the defense of the Panama Canal, and of the 
shipping lanes vital to the preservation of U.S. strategic and com- 
mercial interests in the Americas. 

This was the case in the period covering the two global conflicts, 
between 1917 and 1945, in which the protection of the Panama 
Canal from German military action became part and parcel of the 
U.S. policy in the region. It continued unabated during the Cold 
War period and was particularly exacerbated by the Cuban and 
Nicaragua revolutions of 1959 and 1979, respectively. 

The paramount importance assigned to Puerto Rico as a U.S. na- 
tional security interest has defined the political and economic rela- 
tionship between the two. 

Now, as to our recent history, the Puerto Rican people are work- 
ing on their quest for a permanent solution to the political status 
question. Three options, commonwealth, statehood, or independ- 
ence have been proposed by the Puerto Rico legislative assembly. 

It is the moral and political obligation of the United States to ex- 
tend to the people of Puerto Rico a sincere opportunity to demo- 
graphically define this future political status. The people of Puerto 
Rico deserve no less. The legislative and executive branches of the 
United States Government must respect their wishes. 

This country is claiming to support and encourage democratic 
movement and self-determination around the world. Why should 
the policy toward Puerto Rico be any different? 

Mr. Chairman, I understand the needs and concerns of my fellow 
citizens in Puerto Rico, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to up- 
hold those democratic principles of freedom and self-determination 
espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution 
of the United States. 



33 

It is important to note that any action on behalf of Puerto Rico 
to reach a conclusion on its future must be coupled with a mecha- 
nism to subsequently implement the people's will. It is evident that 
the recently approved law calling in November 14, 1993 for status 
referendum in Puerto Rico lacks the commitment from the United 
States Government to do that. 

I am also very concerned with the exclusion of Puerto Ricans liv- 
ing outside Puerto Rico from that referendum. We must note the 
special relationship between the Puerto Rican community overseas, 
particularly the almost 3 million living in the United States and 
their brothers and sisters living in the islands. The rights of Puerto 
Ricans living outside Puerto to participate in any status referen- 
dum should be recognized. 

Mr, Chairman, the time has come to achieve a permanent solu- 
tion to the status problem, But this solution obviously cannot be ar- 
rived at by Puerto Rico alone. It will not be achieved unless the 
United States adopts an entirely different attitude to the one which 
has characterized its stand toward Puerto Rico until now. 

The United States must understand that Puerto Rico represents 
one of the most important issues it must confront and resolve dur- 
ing the final decade of this century. It has consistently refused to 
acknowledge this need and has in fact by its actions helped 
compound rather than resolve the problem in many ways. 

These actions have had adverse implications for all the status 
formulas historically considered. We, as Members of Congress, 
should pave the way for the people of Puerto Rico to express them- 
selves and fearlessly to work with them to solve this seemingly in- 
tractable problem. 

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you 
very much. 

[Prepared statement of Ms. Velazquez follows:] 



34 



NYDIA M VELAZQUEZ 
12TM DISTRICT, NEW YORK 




Congress of tfje <Bniteb States 

l^ouse of &eprt*entatibe0 

Washington, SC 20515-3212 



TESTIMONY OF CONGRESSWOMAN NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INSULAR AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 

COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES 

Hearing on H. Con. Res 94 

JULY 13, 1993 



(302) 2 25-2 38' 
DISTRICT OFFICE 

t IS 6IOAOWAT 

U iSi 599 3658 



Good morning, Mister Chairman and Members of the House Insular and 
International Affairs Subcommittee. I welcome the opportunity to appear before this 
Subcommittee to testify concerning House Concurrent Resolution 94, sponsored by my 
colleague and friend Jose Serrano. As you well know, this resolution merely endorses 
the right of Puerto Rican's to political self determination. I am also eager to discuss 
our ongoing struggle to establish a mechanism which will enable Puerto Rico to 
decide freely the future of its political relationship with the United States. 

As dramatic changes take place on the international scene, and the United 
States assumes new responsibilities around the globe, the issue of the status of Puerto 
Rico continues to be too low a priority for the Federal Government. As the first 
Puerto Rican woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, I 
strongly support the United Nations' recognition of the inalienable right of the people 
of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence. 

The most significant obstacle to Puerto Rican self-determination has not been 
the inability of Puerto Ricans to express themselves by plebiscite, referendum. 



THIS STATIONER* PRINTED ON PAPER MAOE OF RECYCLED FIBERS 



35 



constitutional convention or other form of consultation. In six different occasions, 
since 1868, the people of Puerto Rico have expressed their desires regarding the 
island's future. It has, rather, been the unwillingness of the United States 
Government to come to terms with its responsibility to abide by a true process of self 
determination for Puerto Rico. 

This resistance on the part of the U.S. has taken many forms; the most 
prevalent of which is its insistence that the problem is based on Puerto Rico's 
inability to decide between commonwealth, statehood or independence. This position 
has enabled the U.S. to avoid having to come to terms with the development of a 
coherent policy concerning Puerto Rico. 

This resistance to address the Puerto Rican status problem head-on, is as old 
as the U.S. presence in Puerto Rico. It has been fueled by this country's view of 
Puerto Rico as a key element in the geopolitical designs of the United States in the 
region. Puerto Rico has consistently been viewed as a military and naval outpost 
essential to the defense of the Panama Canal and of the shipping lanes vital to the 
preservation of U.S. strategic and commercial interests in the Americas. This was the 
case during the period covering the two global conflicts between 1917-1945, in which 
the protection of the Panama Canal from German military action became part and 
parcel of U.S. policy in the region. It continued unabated during the cold war period 
and was particularly exacerbated by the Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutions of 1959 
and 1979 respectively. The paramount importance assigned to Puerto Rico as a U.S. 
national security interest has defined the political and economic relationship between 
the two. 



36 



Now, as throughout recent history, the Puerto Rican people are working on 
their quest for a permanent solution to the political status question. Three options . - 
commonwealth, statehood or independence, have been proposed by the Puerto Rico's 
legislative assembly. 

It is the moral and political obligation of the United States to extend to the 
people of Puerto Rico a sincere opportunity to democratically define this future 
political status. The people of Puerto Rico deserve no less, and the Legislative and 
Executive branches of the U.S. government must respect their wishes. Mr. Chairman, 
I understand the needs and concerns of my fellow citizens in Puerto Rico and I urge 
my colleagues in Congress to uphold those democratic principles, of freedom and self 
determination, espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 
the United States. 

It is important to note that any action on behalf of Puerto Rico to reach a 
conclusion on it future must be coupled with a mechanism to- subsequently implement 
the people's will. It is evident that the recently approved law calling a November 14, 
1993 status referendum in Puerto Rico, lacks a commitment from the United States 
government to do that. 

I am also very concerned with the exclusion of Puerto Ricans living outside 
Puerto Rico from this referendum. We must note the special relationship between 
the Puerto Rican community overseas (particularly the almost 3 million living in the 
U.S.) and their brothers and sisters living in the island. The right of Puerto Ricans 



37 



living outside Puerto Rico to participate in any status referendum should be 
recognized. 

Mr. Chairman, the time has come to achieve a permanent solution to the 
status problem, but this solution, obviously cannot be arrived by Puerto Rico alone. 
It will not be achieved unless the U.S. adopts an entirely different attitude to the one 
which has characterized its stance towards Puerto Rico until now. 

The United States must understand that Puerto Rico represents one of the 
most important issues it must confront and resolve during the final decade of this 
century. It has consistently refused to acknowledge this need and has, in fact, by its 
actions, helped compound rather than resolve the problem in many ways. These 
actions have had adverse implications for all the status formulas historically 
considered. We, as Members of Congress, should pave the way for the people of 
Puerto Rico to express themselves and fearlessly work with them to solve this 
seemingly intractable problem. 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you very much. 



38 

Mr. DE Lugo. I want to thank you very much, Congresswoman 
Velazquez. 

There is a clear relation between the resolution and the planned 
November plebiscite. Do you think that the plebiscite will be a le- 
gitimate act of self-determination and should Congress act on the 
results of that plebiscite? 

Ms. Velazquez. I think I agree with the position that was ex- 
pressed here by Congressman Serrano. I think it is an important 
step and whatever could be done to bring this problem to the table 
to be discussed here in the Congress and in Puerto Rico, is impor- 
tant. But we need to act. This Congress has a moral obligation and 
a political responsibility to the people of Puerto Rico to define once 
and for all the political limbo in which the Puerto Rican people are. 

Mr. de Lugo. You said that a commitment is needed from the 
Federal Government. In your view, would the passage of this reso- 
lution provide such a commitment? 

Ms. Velazquez. I believe so, yes. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The gentleman from Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We are glad to have you with us, Ms. 
Velazquez. 

When you say that the commitment by Congress is necessary, 
why is it necessary beforehand? 

Ms. Velazquez. Because, as you know, the political situation. 
Why are we here? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Because there is a resolution. 

Ms. Velazquez. We are here to resolve the political situation in 
Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The fact that we are considering it, 
doesn't mean it is necessary to be resolved. Why does Congress 
need to express itself before we do? Isn't it our problem basicallv? 
Isn't it we who should be really interested in solving it and take 
the first real step? 

Ms. Velazquez. I think the people of Puerto Rico should express 
themselves freely and that this Congress has a responsibility to 
abide by the decision made by the Puerto Rican people. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Are you aware of how the territories be- 
came States? The 37 territories that became States, when did Con- 
gress express itself beforehand or was it not the territories that 
have asked it? 

Ms. Velazquez. There have been many referendums, Hawaii, 
Alaska. Alaska conducted many referendums. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Some conducted one referendum and oth- 
ers made a petition through their legislature. Isn't it basically our 
dilemma, the Puerto Rican dilemma? 

Ms. Velazquez. There is a special unique relationship between 
this country and Puerto Rico. That is why you are here represent- 
ing Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I am here representing Puerto Rico as 
Commissioner, but not as a State. If we were a State, I would be 
here as a real congressman or perhaps in the Senate. 

Ms. Velazquez. We are here to express that the United States 
support whatever formula we support. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Why should we be subject to the will of 
Congress before we make a request? 



39 

Ms. Velazquez. It would tend to tell me that you are going to 
go on and go forward and say that we are going to declare Puerto 
Rico the 51st State? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We are going to declare our preference 
and say to Congress this is our preference and make it valid. That 
is what the other territories did. They were told in the Senate En- 
ergy Committee on the last day of the hearings, when the bill that 
was filed by Senator Johnston was not approved, it was a tied vote, 
the Senators who voted against it said, now you go back to Puerto 
Rico and you make a decision and come to us. Don't ask us to tell 
you how we would give you an improved commonwealth or state- 
hood or independence. You make your decision and then come to 
us. That is what they said and that is what has been done tradi- 
tionally. 

This resolution is important to the extent of bringing the issue 
to the table. But from the point of view of the Puerto Ricans, we 
should not let ourselves be cowed or be told, no, you have to wait 
for Congress to make an expression. We make our decision and 
then we come to Congress. 

Ms. Velazquez. I am saying it is okay for the people of Puerto 
Rico to call for a referendum and come up with a final resolve and 
come up here. But what I am saying to you is that it is important 
that this Congress express themselves that we will abide by the 
point of the referendum in Puerto Rico or whatever referendum is 
conducted in Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What Congress says today in the 103rd 
Congress will not hold the 104th Congress to that statement by 
this Congress. The resolution of this Congress cannot be enforced 
in the 104th Congress. When I was Governor, there was a joint res- 
olution passed unanimously by the Senate and the House support- 
ing self-determination. If that is the resolution that would succeed 
in Congress, then it would be valid and enforceable today. This res- 
olution is merely an expression. 

I am not trying to argue with you, but to make sure the people 
understand that it is basically you, the people of Puerto Rico, that 
unless we take that first step, unless we make the decision, we 
cannot expect others to make it for us. 

Ms. Velazquez. I don't see any conflict with that. I just don't see 
the point. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You said there had been a lot of referen- 
dums in Puerto Rico. Has there ever been a referendum when a 
nonself-governing nation was considered? 

Ms. Velazquez. In 1967. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What was chosen? 

Ms. Velazquez. The commonwealth. It is up to the people to de- 
cide whether or not they want colony status. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Those two were final decisions for Puerto 
Rico. If Puerto Rico began reporting, would we discuss the status 
issue? 

Ms. Velazquez. I am not going to spend my time here arguing 
with you. Once and for all, this Congress has the responsibility to 
come up with a final solution of the political situation in Puerto 
Rico and to respect whatever position the people of Puerto Rico 
make. It is that simple. 



40 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What I am trying to make clear is the 
fact that we have never asked for something decisive to end the co- 
lonial dilemma in Puerto Rico. We asked for commonwealth, which 
is temporary. That is why we are here again, because we have com- 
monwealth. 

Ms. Velazquez. We are here again because the result in 1967 of 
the Congress was not abided by. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Yes, it was abided by. You see the defini- 
tion of the ballot, all the ballot said was define the commonwealth, 
and said committees would be created. But what was presented by 
the Government of Puerto Rico before Congress was never decided 
by the people of Puerto Rico before. 

I am trying to make it clear that it is our fault basically and that 
we have had to recognize that. As much as Congress has to also 
recognize, and the President has to recognize that Puerto Rico is 
a colony. Once we recognize that, that is when we will have our 
problem solved. 

Thank you. 

Ms. Velazquez. The people of Puerto Rico will decide. 

Mr. de Lugo. The gentleman from Guam? 

Mr. Underwood. I have no questions. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you very much. 

Join us, if your schedule will allow. 

Mr. de Lugo. We now welcome our final witness, a Member of 
Congress. He may be the last of the congressional witnesses, but 
certainly not the least. 

Congressman Gutierrez has established a great presence in this 
House. He often makes a point of saying he is not the most popular 
Member since he has already shaken up the institution. 

But, that is not the way I see it. The fact is that he is a fighter 
for his rights and he is a fighter for change, and it is change that 
we need for addressing problems and shaking up the system. 

This is not his first appearance before this Committee. He ap- 
peared as a Chicago assemblyman during our hearings on this 
issue a couple of years ago. 

It is a great pleasure to welcome you back, Luis, as a sitting 
Member of the Congress of the United States. 

STATEMENT OF HON. LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, A REPRESENTATIVE 
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS 

Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Com- 
mittee. 

I want to thank you very much for this opportunity to express 
my views on the resolution presented by my good friend, Congress- 
man Serrano, and to thank him for drafting this resolution. 

I think it is very appropriate that we address this resolution so 
close to the 4th of July, so close to the day when we, as Americans, 
come together to celebrate the day that the world witnessed the 
birth of a new kind of freedom and democracy. 

I believe that the words Thomas Jefferson wrote 217 years ago 
have some very pointed relevance today and in the context of this 
resolution, and this debate. 

He wrote that there are times when "in the course of human 
events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political 



41 

bands which have connected them with another, and to assume 
among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to 
which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them." 

More than one year earlier, Patrick Henry put the same idea in 
much plainer terms. Quite simply: "Give me liberty or give me 
death." 

My friends, all of us in this room, particularly in this month of 
July, celebrate these words of the Declaration of Independence, of 
Patrick Henry's speech to the second Virginia Convention. As well 
we should, for they are among the most stirring and inspiring 
statements of the values we Americans hold most sacred — of free- 
dom, of self-determination, of liberty. It is ironic, then, that we 
must mark two more anniversaries today. 

For it was 95 years ago that the U.S. Marines, uninvited by the 
people, landed on the island of Puerto Rico. It was 40 years ago 
that the United Nations declared Puerto Rico to be a Common- 
wealth of the United States. 

My friends, two anniversaries — the anniversary of freedom, and 
anniversary that all men are created equal, the anniversary of cele- 
brating the fact that all men have certain inalienable rights — and 
the anniversary of an armed invasion that led to a century of in- 
equality. 

My friends, these two anniversaries are completely incompatible. 

Patrick Henry said: "Give me liberty or give me death." And he 
was choosing liberty over the slow death that the American colo- 
nies were suffering at the hands of King George. Colonies that 
were taxed without proper representation, colonies that sent men 
to fight and die in wars across the world, colonies that were clearly 
denied the basic rights that true citizens were afforded. 

Well, Mr. Chairman, it is far past due for us to admit that Puer- 
to Rico is a colony of the United States. And it is far past due that 
we remedy this unacceptable situation. It is far past time that the 
U.S. Congress move aggressively to resolve the lingering and unfair 
current status of Puerto Rico. Which is why I support the concur- 
rent resolution introduced by my colleague. However, Mr. Chair- 
man, I support it only with the hope that it can be altered and im- 
proved. First, the first "whereas" clause contains a statement that 
I believe to be inaccurate. I believe, and I argue that Patrick Henry 
and Thomas Jefferson would agree with me — as would our more 
contemporary friends such as Lech Walesa, Vaclev Havel and Nel- 
son Mandela — that the right of the Puerto Rican people to self-de- 
termination is inalienable. I do not agree, however, that their right 
to self-determination began with American citizenship in 1917 — 
any more than the right of British colonists to self-determination 
began in 1776, or that hundreds of millions of Russians and East 
Germans and Poles received a "right" to self-determination began 
with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the defeat of communism. 

In America, I believe we value that every human being has the 
right to self-determination. Sometimes it is extinguished by tyr- 
anny and oppression, but that does not mean the right ceases to 
exist. The Puerto Rican people have always had a "right" to self- 
determination. And they always will. 

Mr. Chairman, I also believe it is important to mention that we 
Puerto Ricans have a reverence for our elders, so I would hate to 



42 

have to tell those of whom I have learned so much, my Puerto 
Rican friends who happen to be past their 76th birthday— those 
who were born before American citizenship was bestowed on the is- 
land in 1917, that they were born too soon to share in an inalien- 
able right to self-determination. But I do consider this a serious 
point and I want to emphasize that I believe this resolution should 
clarify that point. 

Because in addition to being historically incorrect, suggesting 
that the right to self-determination somehow springs from Amer- 
ican citizenship can easily be construed to be supportive of a cur- 
rent option in the ongoing debate among Puerto Ricans concerning 
the status of the island, to be supportive of statehood. 

In fact, to suggest, as the first "whereas" clause indeed does, that 
statehood for Rierto Rico is somehow an "inalienable right" is 
again incorrect. Statehood is a compact between two sovereign peo- 
ples. Absolutely, the people of Puerto Rico have a right to choose 
statehood. But let us not in the U.S. Congress mislead the people 
of Puerto Rico into believing that while many of us will respect 
whatever decision is made, there are many in the U.S., some here 
in this body, who will fight to deny them the option they have cho- 
sen. Indeed, statehood is more of a bilateral privilege, to be agreed 
upon by the people of the United States and the people of Puerto 
Rico. To pretend that any other case is true would be unfair to the 
5 million Puerto Ricans on the island. For these reasons, in the in- 
terest of fairness and accuracy, I request that the first "whereas" 
clause be eliminated from the resolution. 

Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me voice one additional concern. You, 
and many others, continue to speak of the "plebiscite" in Puerto 
Rico in November. Let us be careful with the language we use. 
Plebiscite is a specific word with a specified meaning that derives 
from international law. Let me suggest that before we call the vote 
to be held in Puerto Rico in November, a true plebiscite, that the 
U.S. Congress take several specific actions. The people of Puerto 
Rico will vote for independence, or statehood, or continuation of 
commonwealth status. Before we ask 5 million American citizens to 
participate in this process, let this body promise them that they 
truly have the right to self-determination. 

Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity. 

Let us demonstrate that their votes truly count. 

To do this, the U.S. Congress should preapprove whatever deci- 
sion the Puerto Rican people make in November. Their decision 
should and must be self-executing. Let them know that if they vote 
for statehood, this body will not rise to deny them the privilege to 
join this great Nation. Let them know that if they choose independ- 
ence, that we will stand with them and aid and assist in the re- 
birth of a great Nation. But let us not force the Puerto Rican peo- 
ple to participate in a charade that has no legal standing in this 
country or in international law. 

What is being talked about is not a plebiscite, it is a nonbinding 
resolution or consultation. Let us not pretend that it is something 
it is not. 

Mr. Chairman, we have seen momentous change across the 
globe. The iron curtain of communism has lifted. The winds of free- 
dom, winds I am proud to say that have been fanned by our Na- 



43 

tion, are blowing throughout the world. The U.S. looks, and right- 
fully so, with pride to the new birth of democracy we helped create 
across the globe, yet we look away from democracy we silence in 
our own back yard. 

Let us begin the process of honoring the values of Jefferson, of 
Henry, of Abraham Lincoln, when he said that government of the 
people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the 
earth. Let us begin this important process of decolonizing Puerto 
Rico. 

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for this opportunity. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you for a very important statement, Con- 
gressman Gutierrez. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Gutierrez follows:] 

Statement of Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez 

Mr. Chairman, honorable members of this committee, I want to thank you very 
much for this opportunity to express my views on the concurrent resolution intro- 
duced by my goocf friend and colleague, Congressman Serrano. 

I believe that it is very appropriate that we discuss this resolution so close to the 
4th of July, so close to the day that we, as Americans, come together to celebrate 
the day that the world witnessed the birth of a new kind of freedom and democracy. 

I believe that the words Thomas Jefferson wrote 217 years ago have some very 
pointed relevance today and in the context of this resolution, and this debate. 

He wrote that there are times when "in the Course of human events, it becomes 
necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them 
with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal 
station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." 

More than one year earlier, Patrick Henry put the same idea in much plainer 
terms. 

Quite simply, "Give me liberty or give me death." 

My friends, all of us in this room, particularly in this month of July, celebrate 
these words of the Declaration of Independence, of Patrick Henry's speech to the 
second Virginia Convention. As well we should, for they are among the most stirring 
and inspiring statements of the values we Americans hold most sacred — of freedom, 
of self-determination, of liberty. 

It is ironic, then, that we must mark two more anniversaries today. 

For it was 95 years ago that U.S. Marines, uninvited by the people, landed on 
the island of Puerto Rico. 

It was 40 years ago that the United Nations declared Puerto Rico to be a Com- 
monwealth of the United States. 

My friends, two anniversaries — the anniversary of freedom, and anniversary that 
all men are created equal, the anniversary of celebrating the fact that all men have 
certain inalienable rights — and the anniversary of an armed invasion that led to a 
century of inequality. 

My friends, these two anniversaries are completely incompatible. 

Patrick Henry said "Give me Liberty or Give me Death." 

And he was choosing Liberty over the slow death that the American colonies were 
suffering at the hands of King George. 

Colonies that were taxed without proper representation, colonies that sent men 
to fight and die in wars across the world, colonies that were clearly denied the basic 
rights that true citizens were afforded. 

well Mr. Chairman, it is past due for us to admit that Puerto Rico is a colony 
of the United States. 

And it is far past due that we remedy this unacceptable situation. 

It is far past time that the U.S. Congress move aggressively to resolve the linger- 
ing and unfair current status of Puerto Rico. 

Which is why I support the concurrent resolution introduced by my colleague. 

However, Mr. Chairman, I support it only with the hope that it can be altered 
and improved. 

First, the first Whereas clause contains a statement that I believe to be inac- 
curate. 

I believe, and I argue that Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson would agree with 
me — as would our more contemporary friends such as Lech Walesa, Vaclev Havel 



44 

and Nelson Mandela— that the right of the Puerto Rican people to self-determina- 
tion is inalienable. 

I do not agree, however, that their right to self-determination began with Amer- 
ican citizenship in 1917 — any more than the right of British Colonists to self-deter- 
mination began in 1776, or that hundreds of million of Russians and East Germans 
and Poles received a "right" to self-determination began with the fall of the Berlin 
Wall and the defeat of communism. 

In America, I believe we value that every human being has the right to self-deter- 
mination. Sometimes it is extinguished by tyranny and oppression, but that does not 
mean the right ceases to exist. 

The Puerto Rican people have always had a "right" to self-determination. And 

tllGV 3.1wflVS Will 

Mr. Chairman, I also believe it is important to mention that we Puerto Ricans 
have a reverence for our elders, so I am would hate to have to tell those from whom 
I have learned so much, my Puerto Rican friends who happen to be past their 76th 
birthday — those who were born before American citizenship was bestowed on the Is- 
land in 1917 — that they were born too soon to share in an inalienable right to self- 
determination. 

But I do consider this a serious point and I want to emphasize that I believe this 
resolution should clarify that point. 

Because in addition to be historically incorrect, suggesting that the right to self- 
determination somehow springs from American citizenship can easily be construed 
to be supportive of a current option in the ongoing debate among Puerto Ricans con- 
cerning tne status of the island — to be supportive of statehood. 

In fact, to suggest, as the first Whereas clause indeed does, that statehood for 
Puerto Rico is somehow an "inalienable right" is again incorrect. 

Statehood is a compact between two sovereign peoples. Absolutely, the people of 
Puerto Rico have a right to choose statehood. 

But let us not in the U.S. Congress mislead the people of Puerto Rico into believ- 
ing that while many of use will respect whatever decision is made, there are many 
in the U.S., some here in this body, who will fight to deny them the option they 
have chosen. Indeed, statehood is more of a bilateral privilege, to be agreed upon 
by the people of the United States and the people of Puerto Rico. To pretend that 
any other case is true would be unfair to the five million Puerto Ricans on the is- 
land. 

For these reasons — in the interest of fairness and accuracy — I request that the 
first Whereas clause be eliminated from the resolution. 

Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me voice one additional concern. You, and many oth- 
ers, continue to speak of the "plebiscite" in Puerto Rico in November. 

Let us be careful with the language we use. 

Plebiscite is a specific word with a specific meaning that derives from inter- 

n a tlOD.3.1 Ifl^Tv* 

Let me suggest that before we call the vote to be held in Puerto Rico in November 
a true plebiscite, that the U.S. Congress take several specific actions. 

The people of Puerto Rico will vote for independence, or statehood, or continuation 
of commonwealth status. 

Before we ask five million American citizens to participate in this process, let this 
body promise them that they truly have the right to self-determination. Let us dem- 
onstrate that their vote counts. 

To do this, the U.S. Congress should pre-approve whatever decision the Puerto 
Rican people make in November. Their decision should be self-executing. 

Let them know that if they vote for statehood, this body will not rise to deny them 
the privilege to join this great union. 

Let them know that if they choose independence, we will stand with them and 
aid and assist the rebirth of a great nation. 

But let us not force the Puerto Rican people to participate in a charade that has 
no legal standing in this country. 

What is being talked about now is not a plebiscite. It is a non-binding resolution, 
or consultation. Let us not pretend it is something it is not. 

Mr. Chairman, we have seen momentous change across the globe. The iron cur- 
tain of communism has lifted. The winds of freedom, winds, I am proud to say, that 
have been fanned by our nation, are blowing throughout the world. 

The U.S. looks, and rightly so, with pride to the new birth of democracy we cre- 
ated all across the globe. 

Yet we look away from the democracy we silence in our own backyard. 

Let us begin the process of honoring the values of Jefferson, of Henry, of Abraham 
Lincoln, when he said that government of the people, by the people, for the people, 
shall not perish from the earth. 



45 

Let us begin the important process of decolonizing Puerto Rico. 
Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity. 

Mr. de Lugo. Let me now recognize the gentleman from Puerto 
Rico for any questions he may have of the witness. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Good morning, Mr. Gutierrez. 

Mr. Gutierrez. Good morning. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Do you know of any territory in the Na- 
tion that prior to its becoming a State got an expression from Con- 
gress saying what Congress would do regarding a referendum that 
they held; or do you know of any case 

Mr. Gutierrez. Mr. Resident Commissioner, I respectfully an- 
swer that it does not pertain to the particular case that we are dis- 
cussing here today of Puerto Rico, in that Puerto Rico is a Latin 
American country, a country that was invaded by the United 
States of America. It has been declared a colony by the inter- 
national body of the United Nations. You and I all agree it is a col- 
ony, and so we should conform our discussion to how it is Puerto 
Rico is decolonized by the current international measures which 
are accepted throughout the nations of democracy. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Except the other nations of democracy do 
not have the process of accepting States, as this Nation does, and 
I ask once again, do you know of any territory that prior to becom- 
ing a State the Congress gave some kind of guarantee on whatever 
they decided? Do you know of any? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Mr. Resident Commissioner, respectfully, I have 
not looked at that history. I have come here prepared, however, to 
discuss and answer any questions pertinent to the situation at 
Puerto Rico, which is why I believe we are hear this morning. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You don't think we should look at the sit- 
uation, in any given situation, in the perspective of other situa- 
tions? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Mr. Resident Commissioner, do not put words in 
my mouth by suggesting I said something that indeed the record 
will reflect I did not say. 

I suggested I have come here prepared to answer questions in 
reference to the concurrent resolution of Congressman Serrano and 
to the case of Puerto Rico specifically. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You refuse to say whether you know of 
any territory 

Mr. Gutierrez. I am simply suggesting to you, Mr. Resident 
Commissioner, I have come here prepared to speak and to discuss 
the issue that is before us, and I will do so and answer any ques- 
tions you have. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Let me inform you and for the record that 
there is no other, no case of any territory that got any kind of an 
expression that you are asking Congress to do. So when you ask 
for that, in a way you are stopping or you are impeding the 
decolonization process that we want to start now in November. 

Do you feel that in the November election that the independence 
option has a real chance of winning? 

Mr. Gutierrez. That is a decision that will be made by the peo- 
ple on the island of Puerto Rico. I am not going to try to guess the 
results of any election. In politics, that is really not a good thing 
to do. I will leave that decision to the people of Puerto Rico. 



46 

I will, however, suggest that before the people of Puerto Rico can 
make a decision, the sovereignty, the sovereignty of the Puerto 
Rican people, which I believe you know and understand rests here 
in the Congress of the United States, must be returned to the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico so that then they can in the concert of free and 
independent nations make a decision, make a decision freely and 
unequivocally as to their political future. 

Until such time this Congress of the United States restores the 
sovereignty of the people of Puerto Rico back to the people of Puer- 
to Rico, they cannot, in my humble judgment, and I know we will 
disagree, make a decision about how it is they are going to 
decolonize. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Your position is that as long as Congress 
does not make such an expression, we should not try? 

Mr. Gutierrez. I simply stated, and the record will state, that 
what I said was let us not confuse what is happening in November 
in Puerto Rico and, indeed, I can show you excerpts from the news- 
papers in Puerto Rico and from all of the latest political dialogue 
that occurs there that very few people are calling it a referendum. 
Very few people are calling it a plebiscite. Most people would agree, 
I believe, and I humbly suggest most people believe it is a consulta- 
tion. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It is a consultation. 

Mr. Gutierrez. And that that is all it is, is a consultation. It is 
not an exercise, it is not an exercise as a plebiscite would be. In 
order to have a plebiscite, under international law that we under- 
stand, the Congress of the United States would have to make it 
self-executing so that the people of Puerto Rico would know what 
the conditions are and they would know the decision carries with 
it real meaning. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Whether it is called a plebiscite or not, it 
is a consultation. It is recognized as such, a consultation, to begin 
the process. Are you against the consultation? 

Mr. Gutierrez. I am not against any dialogue of the Puerto 
Rican people that helps to decolonize the process, but I would be 
remiss, I would be remiss in, I feel, my responsibility, to allow this 
consultation to be interpreted by the international community as a 
plebiscite, a referendum, with real meaning in this body and in 
international law. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The real referendum will be in the en- 
forcement of that will or desire expressed in the consultation. 

Mr. Gutierrez. The real referendum 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Once the consultation is made, the State 
will then come to Congress with a bill for admission. If the bill of 
admission is accepted, is approved by Congress, the House and 
Senate would most surely have a condition that it be submitted to 
the people of Puerto Rico for acceptance and then that referendum 
would be what you call a plebiscite, and then that decision will be 
self-enacting. 

Mr. Gutierrez. Well, let me just suggest that while I am here 
as a Member of this body and the issue of a plebiscite is truly — 
I will argue, and argue vehemently, it follow international law to 
the letter of the law, that every "T" is crossed and every "I" is dot- 
ted. 



47 

I will not allow Puerto Rico, an island which saw me come to this 
planet earth, to be a second citizen once again. I want for Puerto 
Rico the same rights as those who have struggled for freedom and 
democracy in South Africa under international law; I want the 
same freedoms as in Chile, as in any decolonizing country or any 
country in which democracy is needed to be reestablished. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So if the people in Puerto Rico voted for 
statehood in this consultation process and the bill for statehood, 
the bill came before Congress, which would have a requirement to 
submit it to the people of Puerto Rico for ratification, would you 
vote in favor of that bill? 

Mr. Gutierrez. I cannot — and I understand your question now 
very, very clearly, Resident Commissioner, I believe, and maybe I 
didn't understand it in the beginning; I mean that is why, Mr. 
Resident Commissioner, Carlos Romero-Barcelo, I do not call it a 
plebiscite or a referendum, because it could be construed as such 
and that would be really wrong to do that. 

There needs to be, in order for Puerto Rico — you have asked re- 
peatedly here today why does the Congress of the United States — 
it is Puerto Rico's problem. We have somehow inflicted it upon our- 
selves that we have not resolved this issue. Let me suggest that 
that is far from the truth. How can an island of 3.5 million people 
have the power when the sovereignty of that people is controlled 
by what is the most powerful nation in the world in that relation- 
ship? 

Resident Commissioner, I will tell you that I am ready and will- 
ing to sit down with you, and anyone else in this body, to draft leg- 
islation that is truly decolonizing in Puerto Rico, but the standards 
under which Puerto Rico becomes decolonized, I must submit to 
you today, have to be the highest standards of international law. 
We have fought too hard and too long, and too much blood has 
been shed for Puerto Ricans to have anything less than that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. In other words, if the people of Puerto 
Rico vote for the consultation and an admission bill is presented 
before the Congress, you would not vote for it? 

Mr. Gutierrez. I do not accept the November consultation as 
anything more than a consultation. It is not a binding resolution 
on this body, and so, therefore — I mean, that is what it is. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So that when a statehood bill is presented 
in Congress; that is what I am asking you. 

Mr. Gutierrez. That emanates from this? A statehood bill that 
would emanate? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And that Congress would then require a 
referendum. 

Mr. Gutierrez. All it would be is your bill, and I would treat it 
as a bill of a Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, as I treat 
any other piece of legislation that you bring before — I would not 
treat it as the fulfilling of the will of the Puerto Rican people, let 
us be clear about that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Would you vote for it or not? 

Mr. Gutierrez. For what? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. For the statehood bill. 

Mr. Gutierrez. I would vote for a resolution of the colony of 
Puerto Rico in which there has been full participation of the Puerto 



48 

Rican people in a process, in a very decolonizing process according 
to international law and principles. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. In other words, you would not vote for a 
statehood bill under those conditions; the ones I have expressed to 
you. 

Mr. Gutierrez. I want to make it categorically and absolutely 
clear to you, and all the Members of this body, that I would never 
accept a decision that comes out of a nonbinding, a vote in Puerto 
Rico such as the one that is being— and no one suggests it. I think 
there are many people who are harmonious with me in that state- 
ment. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not too many, now. 
Mr. Gutierrez. Let me suggest to you there are many people 
that are, that understand that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not Puerto Ricans. There are some but 
not many. 

Mr. Gutierrez. Only some? Let me tell you, sometimes there are 

only a few that are sometimes correct in their attitudes and in 

their positions and that, you know, we have to take them as we do. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I am glad you think you are the owner of 

the truth and not the people of Puerto Rico. 

Mr, Gutierrez. I didn't say that, and I would suggest once again 
that you do not put words in my mouth. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I am not putting words in your mouth. I 
am interpreting the words the way people interpret them. 

Mr. Gutierrez. The way you interpret them, Resident Commis- 
sioner. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I am attempting to clarify so the people 
understand clearly what you are saying. Thank you. 
Mr. de Lugo. Thank you. The gentleman from Guam. 
Mr. Underwood. Thank you very much for your testimony, Con- 
gressman. 

Just a quick question on the line of questioning that Mr. Romero- 
Barcelo followed. 

If this resolution were passed, how would that change your atti- 
tude toward the process of the plebiscite in November? 

Mr. Gutierrez. I think this is a concurrent resolution. It would 
certainly help in terms of developing, and so I thank my distin- 
guished colleague from New York for bringing the resolution for- 
ward. I think it is a beginning. It is a beginning and a discussion. 
I would certainly like to broaden that discussion and have a dis- 
cussion in which Puerto Rico is truly treated under international 
law and principles in its process of decolonization. 

Mr. Underwood. Since you have obviously given a great deal of 
thought to this issue, and you mentioned in your testimony that 
self-determination is the right of the Puerto Rican people, and in 
your own testimony you said it always had this right, it predated 
and is not connected to U.S. citizenship and that it always will, I 
am kind of concerned about a statement like that because I am try- 
ing to figure out at what point in time you always have the right 
to self-determination yet at some point in time you must admit the 
right to self-determination has been exercised. 

It is not something you will always have. At some point in time 
we must visualize that there is some structure through which self- 



49 

determination will be exercised. So can you, since you have given 
this issue a great deal of thought, can you outline at what point 
in time that might be, and under what conditions would you con- 
sider self-determination to have been exercised, independent of the 
results of that process? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Yes, I think that the Puerto Rican people as a 
nation and as a people with a given historical context, cultural con- 
text, have a right to develop their relationships so that self-deter- 
mination is inalienable; it is never given up. You can change it at 
any time as long as it is a free will of the people. 

If the people of Puerto Rico wish tomorrow to become, and I 
would argue if the people of Puerto Rico tomorrow wish to become 
a State of the Union, and they did that, and they decided 20 years 
from now that they wanted to change that, that they wanted to 
change that, it would be their inalienable right to change that. 
Maybe they made a mistake. Maybe they disagree with that, that 
that is not in harmony with the history of this Nation is a con- 
tradiction we will all have to live with, but Puerto Rico can do 
whatever it wants as a body and as a people. 

Do I believe that if at a certain point should Puerto Rico become 
a State that we would be absorbed; that the process of Americani- 
zation on the island would be such that there would come a point 
it would be irreversible? Probably I would agree with that also. 

Mr. Underwood. As a social, political and cultural process, let 
me separate Americanization from the fact of self-determination. 
You could be Americanized to the hilt and still think that you have 
not been allowed the full right to self-determination. 

My question is since it is not going to happen tomorrow, the 
question that I have asked is under what conditions do you think 
an act of self-determination is fully consummated? And if there is 
no point in time in which that act is fully consummated, we simply 
cannot enact it into law. You are presenting a dilemma which 
makes it very difficult to resolve. 

Are there some conditions under which you consider an act of 
self-determination for Puerto Rico to have been consummated? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Yes, again, under international standards of the 
sovereignty and the powers and there were transference of powers 
to a convention, a constitutional convention in Puerto Rico, where 
the people of Puerto Rico make a decision freely and unequivocally, 
I could support that decision. 

All I am suggesting, and I want to be as honest with you in my 
opinion as I fully can, Mr. Underwood, it is just you have to under- 
stand I believe that Puerto Rico is a Latin American country and 
that there are inherent contradictions with the assimilation of that 
nation within the United States of America. 

It is very different from other territories and it is very different 
historically. I mean, let me put it to you this way, it was really 
funny to me, you know, I felt a lot of pride in watching Miss Puerto 
Rico become Miss Universe. I watched it with my two lovely daugh- 
ters. But as I watched it, the contradictions abound. Here she was 
an American citizen, but when the questions were posed to her, 
there had to be a translation of those questions. 

Here she was in Mexico, and it was clear to me there were poli- 
tics involved here where all of the finalists were Latin American 



50 

countries, and I felt so proud that the Latin American countries 
even at this contest understood that Puerto Rico, too, was a Latin 
American country. What other way can you explain that Puerto 
Rico would be there with Venezuela and all the other countries? 
And she answered the questions in Spanish, had them translated 
to her in English. 

So you know, Mr. Underwood, colonialism can do many, many 
things and many, many years of colonialism are very difficult to re- 
solve. Let us continue the discussion in a spirit in which we can 
finally attempt to resolve the colonial situation of Puerto Rico 
where everyone comes together, and Puerto Rico can become part 
of the harmony of nations or can be incorporated into the United 
States of America. 

Mr. Underwood. You know, I appreciate and understand the 
comments that you have made in terms of the relationship between 
Puerto Rico and the United States, but I would hasten to add at 
the same time that Puerto Rico is not alone in feeling these con- 
tradictions. These contradictions are something that cut across a 
number of peoples that have been similarly affected historically, 
but at the same time, my only point here is to try to get resolution 
of an issue. We could live these contradictions out for the rest of 
our lives and, in fact, pass on these contradictions 
intragenerationally, but what I am seeking is an attempt to resolve 
the issue of self-determination. 

On a related point 

Mr. Gutierrez. Maybe just 

Mr. Underwood. Just a related question, because you closed 
your statement with this. The point that you make about 
decolonization is an interesting one, because that seems to be more 
process than self-determination. Self-determination tends to imply 
that there is a defined event, aha, we are now going to engage in 
this act of self-determination, we have engaged in it, now it is over, 
now we are going to implement it. Whereas decolonization implies 
a more complex process and it is something that a lot of people dis- 
agree about what the meaning of decolonization is. 

There has been reference made to the role of Puerto Ricans who 
live in the 50 States with regard to self-determination and the fu- 
ture political status of the island as well as some reference made 
to people who perhaps are not Puerto Ricans who live in Puerto 
Rico. I assume I could go to Puerto Rico tomorrow and within 30 
or 60 days exercise the same right to self-determination which his- 
torically propels all of you to be here, but which I am not part of 
that history. So that connection to U.S. citizenship is tenuous at 
best. 

But the question that I have is in terms of decolonization, what 
is being decolonized, the Puerto Rican people or the island of Puer- 
to Rico? 

Mr. Gutierrez. The people of Puerto Rico 

Mr. Underwood. And could you just kind of describe how you 
see that process occurring? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Let me give it to you in probably the best way 
I can, Mr. Underwood. When I was in Puerto Rico, I arrived there 
at the age of 15, and I remember, with my father, as we got into 
the car and he said to me — I saw some people come by with these 



51 

red and white flags and had some pava on it and pan pierra and 
libertad on it. I said to my father, what is that about? He said 
those are the good guys. Those are very, very good people, and if 
you feel you want to associate with them, you should feel very, very 
free to do that because they brought Puerto Rico into this great 
state of harmony and development and they have been great. I said 
great. 

About a week later, some people came by with some blue ones, 
you know, and white. I said what about those people? I said they 
look like they are organized like the ones in red. He said, well, they 
are not as good as the guys in red, I have to be quite honest with 
you. I wouldn't — but, you know, if you feel an attraction to that, 
I could bless that. That would be okay. 

And then about a week later, because I am from San Sebastian, 
where there is lots of independentistas, so, fortunately, we had one 
as large as the other two, so I didn't understand the difference. I 
thought they had the same numerical value in terms of voting. So 
people came by and they had a cross and I thought they must be 
the Christian people, they have a cross and it is green. 

I said, what about those, Dad? And he said, oh, no, no, no. I ex- 
plained to you the guys in red were okay; that the guys in blue 
were not as good as the guys in red, but they were acceptable, but 
if you join and you get close to those guys in green, with what you 
think is a Christian symbol, my son, vou won't get a job^ later on; 
my son, you won't be able to raise a family and you won't be able 
to prosper here. There will be prosecution; people will shun you; 
you will be criticized. That is the minority party and you should 
not associate with them because you cannot prosper on the island 
of Puerto Rico. 

That is colonialism. That is colonialism and that is what we all 
feel. And in the process of decolonization, you have to feel free to 
be able to associate with the ones in red, with the ones in blue, 
with the ones in green in a true process of decolonization, and then 
you make the decision and then you exercise your right to self- 
determination. 

Mr. Underwood. The question or the point you made relative to 
the right to self-determination and its connection or lack of connec- 
tion to U.S. citizenship, yet there seems to be a contradiction. I am 
trying to play this out in my mind. 

What we are looking for here is the U.S. Congress to, in a sense, 
acknowledge the right of people to self-determination that live 
under the flag, yet those people who live under the flag, who have 
a right to self-determination not by virtue of citizenship. 

So what would you say to the argument that what we are really 
seeking is for the U.S. Congress to grant a series of rights to 
noncitizens; to non-Americans? And why would the Congress be in- 
volved in a process like that? 

Mr. Gutierrez. Because the Congress of the United States un- 
derstands, and we all understand, as Congressman Serrano has 
testified, as Congresswoman Velazquez, as everyone has testified, 
it is a shameful relationship and it is a relationship with the Con- 
gress of the United States having its control over the sovereignty 
of the people of Puerto Rico which needs to be resolved. So it is 
something we need to deal with because we are the colonial power. 



52 

If you agree Puerto Rico is a colony, then the United States is 
the colonist power. So it is incumbent on us to secure and to exer- 
cise and to return to the people of Puerto Rico all of their rights 
of self-determination so they can exercise them. 

Mr. Underwood. Well, I was hoping in the discussion of this, 
and it is going to be a recurring theme, certainly the process of 
decolonization and the right to self-determination as part of this, 
and I have always been warned, and repeatedly I might add, when 
you discuss these issues with Puerto Ricans, they cannot separate 
those issues from the status options. 

It always seems every time we try to reach a point where we are 
trying to understand the process, and what we are talking about 
here is process — who has the right to self-determination, how that 
is exercised, and what does decolonization mean, and what does it 
mean to people who are separated, what does it mean to people 
who don't live in Puerto Rico — inevitably, we get tangled up in the 
process of trying to deal with the particular status options. 

But I think, clearly, what I am most interested in is trying to get 
a handle on that self-determination process and on that 
decolonization process, which is more than pointing out contradic- 
tions. I am hopeful that our work in this Committee will get closer 
to that. 

I think living under contradictions and pointing out the con- 
tradictions is one level of a very important process towards 
decolonization, but we go beyond that to much more serious work. 

In regard to Congressman Serrano's earlier remarks where he 
said the assemblyman didn't know that the Puerto Rican Army 
used the U.S. flag, I hasten to add I didn't know that either. 

But just as a final recommendation, the role of Puerto Rico in the 
lives of others who have a similar history is very large and please 
remember that as you continue your own discussions, because in a 
sense it is part of your own responsibility by virtue of the fact that 
you see yourself as small versus the Federal Government, we see 
ourselves as small in comparison to Puerto Rico. 

I had the audacity to attempt to cash a check at Montgomery 
Ward's about three months ago, and they kept punching up in the 
computer and they said, "Says here you are not a U.S. citizen." I 
said, "I am a U.S. citizen." So they punched up Guam and said it 
is not in the code. They have everything in the code but Guam is 
not in the code. I said, "You know, I am a Member of the House 
of Representatives, and do you think they would let non-U.S. citi- 
zens sit in the House of Representatives?" Yeah, but it is not in the 
code. So I said, "Can you see if Puerto Rico is in the code?" Says 
yes, it is in the code. I said, "Well, just think of me as Puerto 
Rican," and they did. Thank you. 

Mr. Gutierrez. And I think, Mr. Underwood, speaking only for 
myself, but I think that we could probably accept you fully fledged 
as a member of the Puerto Rican community. I honestly — Mr. 
Underwood, your point, this is not going to be an easy discussion. 
It should be a complicated discussion in terms of making sure we 
discuss it all. 

We have not heard the beginning of this. Wait until — I mean, if 
this actually were ever to go to the Floor, we would discuss the na- 
tional debt of this Nation as it refers to the status of Puerto Rico, 



53 

the deficit. There would be many Members that would say, aren't 
we going to deal with Washington, D.C. and the issue of unfairness 
in Washington, D.C? I mean, we are not alone and I would simply 
suggest to you, Mr. Underwood, that you and I, being members of 
the same Hispanic Caucus, fortunately we will have many occa- 
sions in which to discuss this and what we perceive to be many, 
many other contradictions. 

Mr. de Lugo. Well, let the Chair observe that I guess that just 
about everybody in this room today can relate to the stories that 
have been told by you, Nydia, and Jose Serrano. In addition to the 
experience of my colleague from Guam trying to cash a check and 
attempting to convince them that he is a United States citizen and 
a Member of this great family. This of course is at the crux of the 
very problem that we have lived with, these contradictions. 

One thing, Luis, I heard, and I was a little taken aback. I 
thought I heard you say that if Puerto Rico chooses statehood, and 
then later determined that they had made a mistake, that basically 
tough, they are going to leave the Union. You cited a quote from 
Lincoln in your presentation, which I believe has been resolved. 
Furthermore, I would hope that the people of Puerto Rico know full 
well that statehood is irreversible; the Civil War was fought to pre- 
serve the Union. Once you become a State, you cannot leave. You 
have made a mistake that you must live with. You become part of 
the family as full-fledged members of the Union. 

So that one took me back and 

Mr. Gutierrez. And you know what I was trying to do, Mr. de 
Lugo, I was trying to give an honest, open answer to the question 
that Mr. Underwood posed, and that is part of the dilemma. 

See, in the process of decolonization, the people of Puerto Rico 
should understand that there is no going back; that you cannot 
change the situation. More importantly, the people of the United 
States of America and the 50 States should understand the con- 
sequences that could be derived from conferring statehood upon 
Puerto Rico, because, you know, Quebec exists within Canada, and 
I am sure that there are those who suggest that it cannot secede. 
Let us not create a situation that we do not understand going 
into it. I want everybody to be fully understanding, you see, be- 
cause the right of a people to self-determination is inalienable, it 
is constant. It never ceases, Mr. Underwood. It never ceases. 

What do you do with the 10 percent, ah, let's make it 5 percent 
of the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans who live on that island who decide 
they are for independence and the other 5 percent who probably 
don't vote? You have 350,000 American citizens who believe in 
independence and believe in the inalienable rights of that country 
to independence. Shouldn't we make sure every Member of Con- 
gress understands they are going to continue to exist and they are 
going to continue to articulate independence for Puerto Rico? 
Shouldn't we understand the Latin American context? It is not an- 
other country. It is a very special relationship. Puerto Rico is a 
Latin American country. 

So I want to discuss it with you and with others so that we can 
really make the most informed decision, and I think if the Congress 
of the United States makes the most informed decision it can, it 
will be a fair and equitable decision. 



54 

Mr. de Lugo. That completes a very stimulative exchange, and, 
again, I would want to invite you to stay with us as long as your 
schedule will allow you. 

Mr. Gutierrez. Thank you. I will do so, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. DE Lugo. We are going to move along. That was our final 
congressional witness. 

Our next witness, the first witness from Puerto Rico, is the Sec- 
retary of State of Puerto Rico and a former Member of Congress, 
the Honorable Baltasar Corrada del Rio. He is appearing on behalf 
of the Governor of Puerto Rico and the New Progressive Party, 
which advocates statehood. 

It is a pleasure to welcome him back to this Subcommittee on 
which he served for so many years and served so welL Good to see 
you. 

Mr. del Rio. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, distinguished 
members of the Subcommittee 

Mr. de Lugo. Would the gentleman suspend for just a moment? 

People are moving around a little bit. I will tell you what, before 
the Secretary of State begins, we have five seats up here, why don't 
some people come up here and sit down. 

I want to also recognize in the audience another good friend of 
mine, Bob Garcia, a former Member of Congress from the Bronx. 
Bobby, good to see you. 

Mr. Garcia. Thank you. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Anyone in back wish to come up front, because I 
will ask everybody to settle down now. We want to hear everything 
that the Secretary of State has to say on behalf of the Government 
of Puerto Rico. 

Okay, can we close those doors, those that are coming and going? 
All right. First of all, without objection we will place your entire 
statement in the record and we will now proceed. I would also like 
to ask the audience to please be courteous to all the witnesses. 

Good to have you here Baltasar, please proceed. 

STATEMENT OF HON. BALTASAR CORRADA DEL RIO, SEC- 
RETARY OF STATE OF PUERTO RICO, REPRESENTING THE 
GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO AND THE NEW PROGRESSIVE 
PARTY OF PUERTO RICO 

Mr. del Rio. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the 
House Subcommittee of the Insular and International Affairs. 

My name is Baltasar Corrada del Rio. It was my privilege to 
serve in the House of Representatives as Resident Commissioner of 
Puerto Rico for eight years. Thereafter, I was elected Mayor of San 
Juan and held the position of President of the New Progressive 
Party. Currently, I hold the office of Secretary of State, which is 
the second highest office in the executive branch of the government 
of Puerto Rico. 

Today, I appear on behalf of the Governor of Puerto Rico, the 
Honorable Pedro Rossello, to present the views of his administra- 
tion on the concurrent resolution submitted by Congressman 
Serrano, supporting the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self- 
determination. 

I may say, and although I believe that this resolution is unneces- 
sary, I have to commend Congressman Serrano. First of all, it is 



55 

well-intended and, secondly, the principles on which it is based are 
sound democratic principles and I wish to commend him for his ef- 
fort. , . 

On July 24, 1979, I introduced a concurrent resolution that 
reaffirmed the commitment of Congress, and I quote from it: "To 
respect and support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to deter- 
mine their own political future through a peaceful, open and demo- 
cratic process." 

I heard this has been watered down, but let me tell you this is 
a much stronger and as strong a statement as you can find in the 
concurrent resolution that you have before you. So if it was wa- 
tered down, it still is as good as the one that is being proposed by 
our good friend Congressman Serrano, if you read carefully what 
it says: Respect and support the right of the people of Puerto Rico 
to determine their own political future through a peaceful, open 
and democratic process. 

Its adoption by Congress as H. Con. Res. 165 on August 2, 1979, 
was predicated on the need to set the record straight with the 
Committee on Decolonization of the General Assembly of the Unit- 
ed Nations which, under the leadership of the Cuban delegation, 
had interfered in the internal affairs of the United States and 
Puerto Rico and, for the first time in 1978, adopted a resolution 
that put into question that the people of Puerto Rico were able to 
exercise self-determination under our political relationship with the 
United States. 

Today, however, it is unnecessary for Congress to make any fur- 
ther expression relating to the rights of the American citizens dom- 
iciled in Puerto Rico to determine the island's political future. 
There is no need to emphasize what is now obvious — that Puerto 
Ricans, as a community of 3.6 million American citizens, do have 
the right to self-determination regardless of whether this Congress 
approves this resolution or not. 

The right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination has 
been widely recognized. It is a natural and human right. Every 
President from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton is on record sup- 
porting the right of the people of Puerto Rico to choose for our- 
selves the island's future political status. The national party plat- 
forms of both the Republican and the Democratic parties have re- 
peatedly supported the right of the people of Puerto Rico to freely 
determine our political relationship with the United States. 

The 1992 Republican platform supported, and I quote, "the right 
of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the 
Union as a full sovereign State after they freely so determine." 
And, in its 1992 platform, the national Democratic party pledged, 
and I quote, "to support the right of the people of the Common- 
wealth of Puerto Rico to choose freely, and in concert with the U.S. 
Congress, their relationship with the United States, either as an 
enhanced commonwealth, a State or an independent nation." 

Furthermore, it is unnecessary to reaffirm a right which the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico are already in the process of exercising. The Sub- 
committee may already be aware that on July 4, 1993, Governor 
Rossello signed into law Act No. 22: "Provide by the legislature of 
Puerto Rico that provides for a political status plebiscite to be held 
in Puerto Rico on November 14 of this year and that steps are 



56 

being taken towards that law being implemented." In other words, 
the people of Puerto Rico, through their valuably elected officials, 
the Governor and the legislature of Puerto Rico, have decided to 
hold a plebiscite on that matter, and we wish Congress and this 
Committee to take note of that fact. 

The plebiscite will allow the American citizens of Puerto Rico to 
choose among statehood as defined by the New Progressive Party, 
independence as defined by the Puerto Rican Independence Party, 
and commonwealth status as defined by the Popular Democratic 
Party. This approach has the advantage of expediting the plebiscite 
and infusing into the process an important element of fairness. 

The New Progressive Party, which advocates statehood, enjoys a 
two-thirds majority in Puerto Rico's legislature. By allowing each 
party to define the status options which they advocate, Governor 
Rossello and our legislature sought to exclude the mere possibility 
that the majority party could impose on a minority party a defini- 
tion of its status alternative that would not conform to the minority 
party's political ideology. 

Other elements of fairness in the plebiscite legislation just ap- 
proved include a generous appropriation of $900,000 for media ex- 
penditures to each political party as well as equal spending limits 
of $3 million, including $1.5 million in media expenditures, for each 
party accepting public financing. This ensures that an equitable 
distribution of funds among the three status options will take 
place. In fact, the statehood option favored by the majority party 
will be outspent two to one by the status options represented by 
the two minority parties opposing statehood. Moreover, Act. No. 22 
applied to the plebiscite a prohibition, similar to that in our Elec- 
toral Act, against government advertisements 60 days before the 
plebiscite. 

After the plebiscite is held, it is expected that the proponents of 
the status option favored by the Puerto Rican electorate will nego- 
tiate in Congress the terms and conditions on which that status op- 
tion can be implemented and that the legislation adopted in Con- 
gress would thereupon be submitted to the Puerto Rican voters for 
their acceptance or rejection in a referendum. Any effort by Con- 
gress to predefine the terms and conditions of each of the status 
alternatives to the Puerto Rican people would seriously undermine 
the self-determination process currently underway. 

The territory acts first and Congress responds. That is the best 
American tradition. That is the American way of admitting terri- 
tories as new States. 

In view of the legal and political framework in which the Novem- 
ber 14 plebiscite will be held, Congress can rest assured that it will 
be a true exercise in self-determination. 

The right of the people of Puerto Rico to determine their political 
future finds sustenance in the principles that fostered the birth 
and nurtured the growth of this Nation and which found expres- 
sion in the Declaration of Independence and in the United States 
Constitution as well as the State constitutions and the Constitution 
of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. I am referring to the fun- 
damental principles of liberty, democracy, government by consent, 
popular sovereignty and self-government. At the ceremony on 
which Governor Rossello signed Act. No. 22, 1 reminded myself that 



57 

it was 217 years ago on July 4th that this Nation had its origin 
on the idea that governments, and I quote, "derive their just pow- 
ers from the consent of the governed" — an idea which is at the core 
of the principles of self-determination. What was good for the 13 
colonies is good as well for Puerto Rico. 

Today, we come here not to ask Congress to permit us to exercise 
our right to self-determination, and that is why we believe that this 
resolution, although well-intended, is unnecessary, we do not come 
here to ask you to let us exercise our right to self-determination. 
We are doing this on our own by the will of the people of Puerto 
Rico and the legislature of Puerto Rico. 

Today, we do not come here to beg you to let us know beforehand 
how far you are willing to go in predefining statehood, independ- 
ence or commonwealth, or to spell out the terms and conditions 
under which Congress would consider extending those options to 
part. We tried that in 1989-1991 and nothing happened. 

Today, we come here to tell you that we, the people of Puerto 
Rico, stand ready to make our decision and select statehood, inde- 
pendence or commonwealth in the November 14 plebiscite. Today, 
we come here to tell you that we expect support and respect for the 
just and fair course of action undertaken by Governor Rossello, the 
Senate and the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico in deciding 
that we must decide. Today, we come here to tell you that once a 
mandate of the people of Puerto Rico is obtained, in the November 
14 plebiscite, we will come here again to knock at the doors of Con- 
gress as Puerto Ricans and as a community of 3.6 million American 
citizens to implement the will of we the people, as the 13 original 
colonies once did and 37 territories have done from Delaware to 
Alaska and Hawaii in the history of our Nation. 

I thank you for your attention, and will gladly answer any of 
your questions. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. 
[Prepared statement of Mr. del Rio follows:] 



58 



Testimony of 

The Honorable Baltasar Corrada del Rio 
Secretary of State of Puerto Rico 

Before the U.S. House of Representatives 
Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs 

regarding H. Con. Res. 94 
July 13, 1993 



Mister Chairman and members of the House Subcommittee on Insular 
and International Affairs: 

My name is Baltasar Corrada del Rio. It was my privilege to serve 
in the House of Representatives as Resident Commissioner of Puerto 
Rico for eight years. Thereafter, I was elected Mayor of San Juan and 
held the position of President of the New Progressive Party. Currently, I 
hold the office of Secretary of State which is the second highest office in 
the executive branch of the government of Puerto Rico. 

Today, I appear on behalf of the Governor of Puerto Rico, The 
Honorable Pedro Rossello, to present the views of his administration on 
the concurrent resolution submitted by Congressman Serrano supporting 
the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination. 

On July 24, 1979, I introduced a concurrent resolution that 
reaffirmed the commitment of Congress, and I quote, "to respect and 
support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to determine their own 
political future through a peaceful, open and democratic process." Its 
adoption by Congress as H. Con. Res. 165 on August 2, 1979 was 
predicated on the need to set the record straight with the Committee on 
Decolonization of the General Assembly of the United Nations which, 
under the leadership of the Cuban delegation, had interfered in the 
internal affairs of the United States and Puerto Rico and, for the first time 
in 1978, adopted a resolution that put into question that the people of 



59 



Puerto Rico were able to exercise self-determination under our political 
relationship with the United States. 

Today, however, it is unnecessary for Congress to make any further 
expression relating to the rights of the American citizens domiciled in 
Puerto Rico to determine the Island's political future. There is no need to 
emphasize what is now obvious — that Puerto Ricans, as a community of 
3.6 million American citizens, do have the right to self-determination. 

The right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination has 
been widely recognized. It is a natural and human right. Every President 
from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton is on record supporting the right of 
the people of Puerto Rico to choose for ourselves the Island's future 
political status. The national party platforms of both the Republican and 
the Democratic parties have repeatedly supported the right of the people 
of Puerto Rico to freely determine our political relationship with the United 
States. 

The 1992 Republican Platform supported, and I quote, "the right of 
the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a 
fully sovereign State after they freely so determine." And, in its 1992 
platform, the national Democratic Party pledged, and I quote, "to support 
the right of the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to choose 
freely, and in concert with the U.S. Congress, their relationship with the 
United States, either as an enhanced commonwealth, a state or an 
independent nation." 

Furthermore, it is unnecessary to reaffirm a right which the people 
of Puerto Rico are already in the process of exercising. The 
Subcommittee may already be aware that on July 4, 1993 Governor 
Rossello signed into law Act No. 22 that provides for a political status 
plebiscite to be held in Puerto Rico on November 14th of this year and 
that steps are being taken towards that law being implemented. 

The plebiscite will allow the American citizens of Puerto Rico to 
choose among statehood, as defined by the New Progressive Party, 
independence, as defined by the Puerto Rican Independence Party, and 
commonwealth status as defined by the Popular Democratic Party. This 



60 



approach has the advantage of expediting the plebiscite and infusing into 
the process an important element of fairness. 

The New Progressive Party, which advocates statehood, enjoys a 
two-thirds majority in Puerto Rico's Legislature. By allowing each party to 
define the status options which they advocate, Governor Rossello sought 
to exclude the mere possibility that the majority party could impose on a 
minority party a definition of its status alternative that would not conform 
to the minority party's political ideology. 

Other elements of fairness in the plebiscite legislation just approved 
include a generous appropriation of 900,000 dollars for media 
expenditures to each political party as well as equal spending limits of 
three million dollars, including 1.5 million dollars in media expenditures, 
for each party accepting public financing. This ensures an equitable 
distribution of funds among the three status options. In fact, the 
statehood option favored by the majority party will be outspent two to one 
by the status options represented by the two minority parties opposing 
statehood. Moreover, Act No. 22 applied to the plebiscite a prohibition, 
similar to that in the Electoral Act, against government advertisements 60 
days before the plebiscite. 



After the plebiscite is held, it is expected that the proponents of the 
status option favored by the Puerto Rican electorate will negotiate in 
Congress the terms and conditions on which that status option can be 
implemented and that the legislation adopted in Congress would 
thereupon be submitted to the Puerto Rican voters for their acceptance or 
rejection in a referendum. Any effort by Congress to pre-define the terms 
and conditions of each of the status alternatives to the Puerto Rican 
people would seriously undermine the self-determination process currently 
underway. 

The territory acts first and Congress responds. That is the best 
American tradition. That is the American way of admitting territories as 
new states. 



61 



In view of the legal and political framework in which the November 
14th plebiscite will be held, Congress can rest assured that it will be a 
true exercise in self-determination. 

The right of the people of Puerto Rico to determine their political 
future finds sustenance in the principles that fostered the birth and 
nurtured the growth of this Nation and which found expression in the 
Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as well as the 
State constitutions and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico. I am referring to the fundamental principles of liberty, democracy, 
government by consent, popular sovereignty and self-government. At the 
ceremony on which Governor Rossello signed Act No. 22 I reminded 
myself that it was 217 years ago on July 4 that this Nation had its origin 
on the idea that governments, and I quote, "derive their just powers from 
the consent of the governed" — an idea which is at the core of the 
principle of self-determination. What was good for the thirteen colonies is 
good as well for Puerto Rico. 

Today we come here not to ask Congress to permit us to exercise 
our right to self-determination. Today we do not come here to beg you to 
let us know beforehand how far you are willing to go in predefining 
statehood, independence or commonwealth, or to spell-out the terms and 
conditions under which Congress would consider extending each of those 
options to Puerto Rico. We tried that in 1989-1991 and nothing 
happened. 

Today we come here to tell you that we, the people of Puerto Rico, 
stand ready to make our decision and select statehood, independence or 
commonwealth in the November 14th plebiscite. Today we come here to 
tell you that we expect support and respect for the just and fair course of 
action undertaken by Governor Rossello, the Senate and the House of 
Representatives of Puerto Rico in deciding that we must decide. Today 
we come here to tell you that once a mandate of the people of Puerto 
Rico is obtained, in the November 14th plebiscite, we will come here 
again to knock at the doors of Congress as Puerto Ricans and as a 
community of 3.6 million American citizens to implement the will of we, 
the people, as the thirteen original colonies once did and thirty-seven 



76-006 0-94-3 



62 



territories have done from Delaware to Alaska and Hawaii in the history of 
our Nation. 

Thank you for your attention. I am now available to answer any 
questions that you may have. 



63 



Supplemental sheet 



Subject: H. Con. Res. 94 

Witness: The Honorable Baltasar Corrada del Rio 
Secretary of State of Puerto Rico 

Address: Department of State 
P.O. Box 3271 
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902-3271 

Phone: (809) 724-3284, 724-4805 

Summary: It is unnecessary for Congress to make any further expression 
regarding the right of the American citizens of Puerto Rico to 
determine the Island's political future. On July 4, 1993, 
Governor Rosselld signed into law Act No. 22 which provides 
for a political status plebiscite to be held on November 14th of 
this year. The legal and political framework in which the 
plebiscite will be held, assures that the people of Puerto Rico 
will exercise their right to self-determination. 



64 

Mr. de Lugo. The plebiscite law provides that the results of the 
vote will be communicated to Congress, but it does not provide for 
the negotiation which you expect on the terms by which the favored 
status can be implemented. , , 

How will your people know whether there will be a negotiation 
without a Federal commitment to such a response, and is the plebi- 
scite intended to actually decide on a status or is it just to deter- 
mine how much support there is for the various aspirations? 

Mr. del Rio. There is a Federal commitment to respect and sup- 
port the will of the majority of the people of Puerto Rico. That is 
the principle of self-determination. It is ingrained in the Declara- 
tion of the Independence in the U.S. Constitution, in the state- 
ments of all the Presidents of the United States from President Ei- 
senhower to Bill Clinton, and it is also included in the resolution 
passed by Congress in 1979. How many more times do we need this 
to be said? 

What we are saying is we don't come here to ask you to tell us 
that you will respect us. We come here to tell you that you have 
to respect us because you are committed to the principle of self-de- 
termination and we are exercising that principle. 

Now, concerning the majority that is required on the alter- 
natives. This is a three-way plebiscite: statehood, independence and 
commonwealth. Who wins when there are three running in any po- 
litical event? The one that gets the most votes. 

Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States with 43 
percent of the popular vote of this country, while President Bush 
had 37 percent and Mr. Perot had 19 percent. Is anybody saying 
that Bill Clinton is not the President of the United States because 
he got to the White House with 43 percent of the vote? 

Well, that is what happens when you have three candidates, and 
in this plebiscite we have three candidates: statehood, independ- 
ence and commonwealth. So who is the winner? The one that gets 
the most votes. And if statehood, as we expect, gets the most votes, 
that will start the process for us to come here to Congress with the 
mandate of the majority of the people for a request of Congress to 
begin the discussions of the Statehood Enabling Act. 

Once that process develops, and if Congress passes a law offering 
or granting statehood to Puerto Rico, that law will be subject to a 
yes or no vote and then the ratification or rejection by the people 
of Puerto Rico. 

This is the way, the fair process that we believe is the one that 
must be supported if the principle of self-determination is to be re- 
spected and not just paid lip service. 

Mr. DE LUGO. But, Mr. Secretary, you served for many years in 
this House. Do you realistically believe that if the vanning status 
wins by, let's say, 34 percent in the plebiscite, that whichever sta- 
tus comes forward, if it comes forward with 34 percent or 35 per- 
cent that it will be given serious consideration by the Congress of 
the United States and be seen by the Congress as an expression 
of the will of the people of Puerto Rico? 

Mr. DEL RlO. Of course that is a hypothetical question that puts 
a situation on the least possible majority that a three-way plebi- 
scite could go. Let me say I do believe and I am hopeful that state- 
hood will garner over 50 percent of the vote in that plebiscite. Un- 



65 

questionably, the more votes the winning formula obtains, the 
more bargaining power we will have. 

So, yes, it is important for us in Puerto Rico to come here with 
a mandate of the largest possible majority, but it is not of your in- 
cumbency to tell us beforehand, hey, unless you get more than X 
percent I will not pay attention, because that would be against the 
principle of self-determination. It would be like an obstacle or try- 
ing to put beforehand some obstacle to that principle. 

And, furthermore, as I said, because the process itself requires 
that after that beginning, through the mandate of the majority, 
and we hope that it is more than 50 percent, that then, of course, 
when Congress acts and Congress may act or may not act, what- 
ever action is taken by Congress will be further subject to the rati- 
fication by the people of Puerto Rico. 

Mr. de Lugo. Mr. Secretary, you and I know that there is no pro- 
hibition against any territory lobbying the Congress at any time for 
a change in political status if there is political support or a political 
base for it. But, don't you feel, as one who is a realist, one who has 
vast experience in political office and with the Congress of the 
United States, that it is important that the electorate know the re- 
alities when they go to participate in the plebiscite or a referendum 
or an election? Don't you think that they should know the realities 
that statehood or independence or an enhancement of common- 
wealth will be very difficult to bring about before the Congress of 
the United States because of the political realities, all of the things 
that are on the President's plate at the present time? 

That it is important that, as you said, the winning status get as 
large a vote as possible. It is not going to be an easy thing to get 
the attention of this entire political body. Don't you feel that it is 
important to tell the people, look, we can go to the Congress with 
37 percent, with 40 percent, we can go to the Congress at any time, 
but to be effective, we need to send the strongest possible signal 
to get these people's attention? 

Mr. DEL Rio. Of course, we will go to the people and tell them 
that it is important that we get as large a majority as possible. 
That is one principle. The other principle is saying beforehand that 
unless there is X majority, that this will not be considered. That 
is what we would be against. 

Let me say we are talking here about dignity and equality. It 
wasn't easy for Martin Luther King to be recognized and obtain 
equal civil rights for the blacks of this country, it wasn't easy for 
the blacks to get the abolition of slavery. It was difficult. So, yes, 
I agree with you, it will be difficult, but let me say to you, don't 
be concerned about what we need to tell to the Puerto Rican peo- 
ple. They are intelligent, they are wise and they know what they 
are voting for. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Mr. Secretary, I would never presume to say what 
you should say to the Puerto Rican people. But, as one whose roots 
were originally in Puerto Rico, I have a sensitivity and a respect 
towards the Puerto Rican people. I feel that it is important that, 
whether it be the Puerto Rican people or the people of my own dis- 
trict, the Virgin Islands, that they know what the realities are in 
this Congress. 
I want 



66 

Mr. del Rio. I understand, Mr. Chairman, what you are saying, 
but what I say is would you like for me to say, hey, Mr. de Lugo, 
are you sure that you are explaining to the people of the Virgin Is- 
lands exactly what is involved in this decision about X issue or Y 
issue, et cetera? 

You are a political leader there, you are Governor, there are 
other politicians in the community itself. I don't go up and tell the 
people of California, you know, hey, Governor, I am not sure that 
you are telling the people exactly what is that statement you are 
voting on next session. 

But I will say this. You have to trust us, and furthermore, we 
are very passionate about our politics. When we state what it is we 
will be saying in the campaign, we will be challenged by the 
estadistas and the independentistas, just as we will challenge what 
they are saying, and the people will listen to this debate. This is 
what democracy is all about. Nothing will be hidden. All these con- 
cerns will be said. 

One of the main propaganda of those who are against statehood 
will be, don't worry to vote for statehood because Congress is not 
going to give it to you. That is going to be 

Mr. de Lugo. You certainly make a very real point; the Chair 
knows that in this plebiscite or referendum, whatever you want to 
call it, there will be full, free, robust exchange between the three 
political parties. 

Mr. del Rio. Exactly. 

Mr. DE LUGO. But, we are not having this discussion just for the 
record of this Committee, because as we speak, it is being broad- 
cast back to Puerto Rico, people are listening to it on the radio. You 
know, we heard a statement made earlier where a Member of Con- 
gress said, well, if the people of Puerto Rico decide that they have 
chosen statehood and they made a mistake, they can change their 
minds and we know better than that, and you know better than 
that, too. 

So that I just feel that it is important that as we have these ex- 
changes, the more information that we can bring out to the people, 
the more we serve the people. 

Mr. del Rio. For instance, Mr. Congressman, going on that 
point, do you think there is any doubt among the intelligent people 
of Puerto Rico that statehood is a permanent solution? Of course 
they know that. It would be sort of underestimating the ability of 
the people of Puerto Rico to understand issues to say that they 
have to be told that statehood is irrevocable, as independence is ir- 
revocable. 

Of course they are irrevocable and our people know it. It is like 
marriage. Once you get into it, it is irrevocable. If you want to have 
some other looser relationships, well, you can have some other 
looser relationships, but our people know about these things. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The gentleman from Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and before I 
ask anything of the Secretary, Mr. Secretary, how are you, 
Baltasar? 

I want to talk a little on that issue of the majority, because I 
think that we tend to lose sight of the fact that if Puerto Rico votes 
for statehood there is going to be a second vote. Because the admis- 



67 

sion for statehood bill will be submitted to the people of Puerto 
Rico for ratification and that is a yes or no vote and there will have 
to be a majority. 

To say beforehand what are the majority, what would constitute 
a majority, is it 49.5 percent, is it 45, or 44, I think we would be 
trying to out guess what Congress would do. Maybe Congress with 
a 45.5 majority would act; maybe it wouldn't. Maybe even with 
over 50 percent it would not act. And we all recognize this prin- 
ciple; that the more votes we get for statehood, the more likely it 
is we are going to get it, there is no doubt about that, and the least 
votes we get, the less opportunities we have. But that is our choice 
and our option. 

We are trying to find out whether the people of Puerto Rico will 
be getting a process where everybody has an opportunity to vote; 
expresses what they want for Puerto Rico, to become a State or 
independent or whether we want to keep being a colony. So once 
we make that decision, then we will come to Congress and exercise 
our right to have that enacted, and that is the only way that we 
can do it. 

That is why I say we have to recognize that we have not had a 
significant change in status because we have not asked for a sig- 
nificant change in status. The political process is there; we can do 
it, and we recognize we have the authority to enact a plebiscite 
whenever it wants to enact a plebiscite, whenever it has the votes, 
and we can vote, but we have not done it. 

The only time we have had a plebiscite in Puerto Rico we se- 
lected a colonial status, which is to our shame. And it is to our 
shame forever that we convalidated the colony. But now we are try- 
ing to start a process for decolonization, and to say beforehand you 
have to have that number of votes, whoever wins will go ahead and 
try to obtain a decision from the Congress to respect the will of the 
majority, and the vote will be yes or no finally. So there will have 
to be a majority, otherwise we will be in this quagmire forever. 

To wait for a decision from Congress or an expression of Con- 
gress for us to act is to convalidate the colony and allow the colo- 
nial relationship to remain. 

Mr. Secretary, I, of course, agree with your statement. I would 
like to, however, ask you about something we have discussed here 
today and that is the right of the participation of Puerto Ricans 
who do not reside in Puerto Rico, who reside on the mainland. 
Have you, as Secretary of State, or as a member of the party or 
participating in all the discussions in the Fortaleca, have you ever 
received or seen any definition or how would you define the Puerto 
Ricans in the mainland that would have a right to vote that could 
be enforceable? 

Mr. del Rio. There have been different proposals, some say that 
they ought to be either — at times people have said Puerto Ricans 
who were born in Puerto Rico and then moved, or Puerto Ricans 
who have Puerto Rican parents, both the father and the mother; 
others say, well, if the father is Puerto Rican or the mother is 
Puerto Rican it should be enough; some say that it should go on 
to a second or third generation. So there is a lot of confusion in 
that regard. 



68 

However, let me say, Mr. Congressman, that I have done some 
research on the legal implications of this which I believe the Sub- 
committee ought to know. Remember that we had a plebiscite in 
1967, 26 years ago. There was a case decided in the U.S. District 
Court for the District of Puerto Rico, it is called the case of Sola 
v. Sanchez-Vilella. 

Mr. CORRADA del RlO [continuing.] Judge Elmo Hunter, sitting 
as a visiting judge in the Federal District Court of the District of 
Puerto Rico, resolved in the following manner a lawsuit filed by 
some Puerto Ricans residing in New York and New Jersey who 
wanted to have the right to vote in that plebiscite. 

The judge decided as follows: Such provisions, the ones that re- 
late to determining the eligibility of voters, are not merely to help 
identify the voter or protect against fraud, but afford some protec- 
tion against those who have been living in the States only a short 
time or who have ceased to be a resident of the State and have no 
reasonable interest or opportunity to be informed voters on a par- 
ticular local matter because they do not personally reside there. 

In that case, the Judge then went on and said, referring to these 
people who were challenging the law and asking for a right to par- 
ticipate: "They are residents of one of three States — New York, 
New Jersey or Massachusetts — where they have resided for many 
years. They are not citizens or residents of Puerto Rico, although 
they may sometimes decide to return to Puerto Rico to live, and 
have an interest in the solution of the political status of Puerto 
Rico. Some of them possess property in Puerto Rico. These facts," 
says the court, "are insufficient to give plaintiff the requisite stand- 
ing to bring this suit. 

"Plaintiffs are in no different a position than citizens and resi- 
dents of New York or New Jersey or Massachusetts than one who 
was born, for example, in Missouri; and to economically better him- 
self would move to another State and become a citizen and resident 
of this State and who, although owning property in Missouri and 
having nostalgia for Missouri, cannot meet the citizenship and resi- 
dential requirements for voting in a Missouri election, even though 
the Missouri election may be on fundamental matters as amending 
the State constitution or adopting a new one. 

"Technically," says the court, 'ihe interest of these parties in the 
plebiscite is purely personal rather than legal and can be ex- 
pressed" — this is very important — "can be expressed by their cor- 
responding with their own State's particular Senators and Rep- 
resentatives in Congress who, in turn, can bring plaintiffs views to 
the attention of Congress, just as a result of the plebiscite would 
advise Congress of the views of those who vote in it." 

I think this case is clearly in point with the issues we are dis- 
cussing here. Constitutionally and electorally those who vote in an 
election are the official residents domiciled in the area or body poli- 
tic where the election takes place. 

It is not that we would not like Puerto Ricans in New York to 
vote. It is that we are constrained constitutionally and legally from 
allowing them to do so, and furthermore allowing other people who 
are not residents of Puerto Rico to vote would dilute the power of 
the vote of the Puerto Ricans who reside there and the principle 
of one man-one vote. 



69 

Therefore, I think we are wasting our time discussing something 
that cannot happen, constitutionally and electorally. 

Secondly, who is going to register the voters? If Puerto Ricans on 
the mainland are going to vote, where do they register to vote? 
Who will supervise that? Who will be eligible to make a challenge 
on someone who is trying to register? Who decides who is a Puerto 
Rican and who is not a Puerto Rican? 

All these are very complex questions that really would not allow 
a practical solution on this matter by allowing Puerto Ricans other 
than Puerto Ricans residing on the island of Puerto Rico to vote. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Have you heard those questions being ad- 
dressed and heard conclusions being offered to those questions? 
When they ask for a voice, it is a merely, I think, we should vote. 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. It is a desire that is legitimate. The point 
is that it is unconstitutional and electorally unmanageable and oth- 
erwise against all the principles by which voting in this Nation is 
known. 

In Europe, there is something called ius sanguini. In the United 
States, there is something called ius soli. There are two ways, ius 
soli or ius sanguini. The United States tradition is ius soli, based 
on domicile or residence in the body politic rather than ius 
sanguini which comes from the European concept that allows mem- 
bers of a family to vote even if they went abroad; and based on 
blood relationship, they would be allowed to vote. 

This is entirely contradictory to American constitutional and 
electoral principles. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Our electoral system was based on which 
one of those in Puerto Rico? 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. The electoral system of Puerto Rico, of 
course, follows the American model. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Would you describe for the record how 
the voters are registered in Puerto Rico and also on election day 
how the process goes? How is the position represented in the polls? 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. We have in Puerto Rico a very well-or- 
dained, detailed voting principle where people would challenge any- 
one who is not on the voting list, who is not eligible if they moved 
away from one street to the next neighborhood, et cetera. 

Questions that election day, each party is represented by a poll- 
ster at each polling place and they constitute a board presided over 
by a member of the party that has the majority. But the other two 
members have a voting right. If they cannot agree on a decision, 
a judge is called to make a decision. So we are very well organized 
and very detailed in those processes. 

The question is, if Puerto Ricans who live outside of Puerto Rico 
are voting in New York, Massachusetts or New Jersey, who is 
going to manage that — the Electoral Commission of Puerto Rico, 
the State or City of New York or New Jersey, the Congress of the 
United States? You don't even get involved in presidential elec- 
tions. Presidential elections in the United States are ruled by State 
law, not Federal law, except that they have to comply with the con- 
stitutional principles of one man-one vote in such elements of re- 
apportionment or redistricting. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Can you think of a way to have the elec- 
toral processes carried out in the 50 States of the Union with the 



70 

same guarantees that they have in Puerto Rico in the electoral 
orocess? 

Mr. Corrada DEL Rio. That is another important element. It is 
not just saying, well, because there are many Puerto Ricans in New 
York, New Jersey or Connecticut, Puerto Rican residents of New 
York, Connecticut and New Jersey will be allowed to vote. You will 
have to allow to vote 35 Puerto Ricans in Alaska or in Hawaii, 
those who came at the turn of the century and moved to Hawaii 
at the turn of the century. 

Not only that, a Puerto Rican resident of Australia who is a resi- 
dent of Australia. A Puerto Rican who resides in a foreign country 
may claim that he has as much right to vote as a Puerto Rican in 
New York. 

Therefore, unless they are allowed to vote, they will challenge 
the vote. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I bring this up because when people are 
told that there is a possibility that they can vote in the plebiscite, 
because it is so emotional to the Puerto Ricans who live in the 
mainland, I don't think it is fair for those people to be told there 
is an opportunity for them to vote. Constitutionally, legally, from 
a practical and organizational point of view, it is not possible. 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. Personally, I would love to see Puerto 
Ricans, wherever they are, vote on this matter. Legally and con- 
stitutionally, it cannot be done. 

If they want to move back to Puerto Rico, establish their domicile 
and residence there, suffer, and enjoy whatever we have under the 
current Commonwealth status, live there long enough to under- 
stand whether it is good or bad for us, then they can vote. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What was the citation of the case that 
you read? 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. I don't have the Federal citation. The 
name of the case is Sola v. Sanchez Vilella in the U.S. District 
Court of 1967. I can get more for you. 1967 was the year of the 
plebiscite. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you very much. 

[The information follows:] 

Sold v. Sdnchez-Vilella, 270 F.Supp. 459 (D.C.P.R. 1967) offd 390 F.2d 160 (CA 
1, 1968). 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, for your 
presentation on behalf of the Rossello administration. It is always 
a pleasure to see you. 

Mr. Corrada del Rio. Mr. Chairman, just for the record, I am 
sorry that Mr. Underwood is not here, but I heard what he said, 
he was willing to take what our Resident Commissioner wants to 
get rid of, which is Commonwealth status. If Puerto Rico was the 
size of Guam, had 100,000 inhabitants, perhaps I would support 
Commonwealth if I did not have the hope or expectation on a short- 
term basis of being able to become a State. 

I, as a Puerto Rican, want Puerto Rico to become a State. But 
I don't want to force Guam or any other territory to decide what 
they want to be. It may be that Guam has made up their mind 
that, based on their population and distance from the United 
States and other factors, they want to be a Commonwealth. So be 
it, if that is the way they feel. 



71 

We Puerto Ricans believe we can get dignity and equality. We 
are ready. We have the population, the economy and the right to 
be a State of the Union. So I do understand why our Resident Com- 
missioner wants to discard Commonwealth. 

Well, Mr. Underwood may wish to have Commonwealth. It just 
depends whether you have the expectation on a short-term basis of 
becoming a State or not. 
. Mr. DE Lugo, Thank you for that classification, Mr. Secretary. 

Our next witness is a representative of the Puerto Rican Inde- 
pendence Party, one of the leaders of all parties of exceptional abil- 
ity. Fernando Martin Garcia, the Vice President of the Puerto 
Rican Independence Party, was one with distinction within that 
group who was truly an impressive spokesman. It is an honor for 
the Chair to welcome him 

STATEMENT OF HON. FERNANDO MARTIN GARCIA, VICE 
PRESIDENT OF THE PUERTO RICAN INDEPENDENCE PARTY 

Mr. Martin. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am the vice president 
of the Independence Party. I will testify on behalf of the president 
of the party, Ruben Berrios, who could not be here because of pend- 
ing legislative business in Puerto Rico. 

We welcome the initiative by Congressman Jose Serrano in intro- 
ducing House Concurrent Resolution 94, as well as the decision by 
this Subcommittee to hold public hearings on the Serrano resolu- 
tion at this time. 

Although the working of the resolution can, and should, be re- 
vised in order to ensure that the question of the right of the people 
of Puerto Rico to self-determination is addressed in the clearest 
possible terms; and to ensure further that consideration and ap- 
proval of this resolution will make an effective contribution to the 
decolonization of Puerto Rico; the Serrano resolution is an impor- 
tant first step. It is a step in the right direction. It ought to meet 
with a prompt and straightforward response on the part of Con- 
gress to the results of the vote on political status preferences that 
will take place in Puerto Rico next November 14. 

Those of us who took a direct part in the discussions and negotia- 
tions that led to the approval of H.R. 4765 in 1990 in the House, 
and who observed with dismay the defeat in committee of S.244 in 
1991, witnessed the profound reluctance of Congress as a whole to 
tackle, head on, the question of Puerto Rico's territorial status 
under the U.S. Constitution for which, after all, Congress is both 
originally and ultimately responsible. 

After a long history of political neglect in which Congress created 
and nurtured successive colonial regimes in Puerto Rico, from the 
Foraker Act of 1900 to the present Law of Federal Relations, at the 
same time that it promoted economic dependence, it was not sur- 
prising to see Congress as a whole recoiling from sponsoring a pleb- 
iscite in Puerto Rico that would have then, in all probability, re- 
sulted in a victory for the statehood option. 

I have no doubt that sighs of relief were heard in this city when 
it became evident in 1991 that a congressionally sponsored referen- 
dum would not happen. It is critically important therefore that 
those of us who favor the final extinction of colonialism in Puerto 



72 

Rico take all useful steps that will lead Congress to have to face, 
again, the question of Puerto Rico's political status. 

The most important virtue of the status vote scheduled for next 
November 14 in Puerto Rico is that its results, whatever they may 
be, will provide an excellent opportunity for the exercise of congres- 
sional responsibility. In light of previous experience, it is necessary 
to promote an environment of understanding and commitment in 
the Congress that will ensure a prompt response to any referen- 
dum result. 

Two results appear as most probable at this time. The first is 
that neither statehood nor Commonwealth will attain a majority of 
more than 50 percent of the vote. The participation of the Inde- 
pendence alternative under the auspices and leadership of the 
Puerto Rican Independence Party may be sufficiently effective — as 
it has in the last seven general elections in Puerto Rico — to deny 
a majority to either the representatives of statehood or the rep- 
resentatives of commonwealth. 

It is important the Congress recognize in such a result a rejec- 
tion, by majority vote, of statehood after 95 years of U.S. possession 
and control. By the same token, that same result, no majority, 
would also mean that commonwealth status no longer has majority 
support in Puerto Rico, more than 40 years after the unveiling of 
the newly design colonial status in 1952. 

Statehood having failed to attain majority support and the exist- 
ing colonial status having lost the alleged consent which Congress 
inferred from the result of the referenda in 1952 and 1967, it is 
clear that a congressional initiative, unencumbered by majorities in 
favor of either statement or the present colonial status, would be 
necessary in order to end colonialism in Puerto Rico. 

The second possible result, of course, is that statehood might 
achieve a majority, albeit a very fragile one. If this were the result, 
Congress would have to express its position, clearly and defini- 
tively, concerning this option. 

In the unlikely scenario that the present status were to prevail 
by a majority, Congress would have to decide whether it wishes to 
continue the present colonial relationship and its inherent instabil- 
ity, which continuously threatens to turn its extreme economic de- 
pendence into a request for a permanent welfare State. 

In any case, the moment will be ripe for Congress to act on the 
Puerto Rican question. Inasmuch as this resolution generates inter- 
est and discussion concerning the issue, and lays the groundwork 
for post-November legislative initiatives, it deserves the support of 
all those who believe that Congress cannot continue to avoid the 
responsibilities which the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and the Territory 
Clause of the U.S. Constitution impose upon it. 

In order for this resolution to be an effective instrument in 
achieving these objectives, it is necessary that the following issue 
be addressed. First, it is important to clarify the question of self- 
determination. This right exists for Puerto Ricans because they are 
a people, in terms of International Law. This means that they 
have, as opposed to residents of Iowa or Ohio, an inalienable right 
to independence and self-determination. No plebiscite, referendum, 
or election can extinguish this right, which must be always avail- 
able to successive generations. 



73 

No one here would argue with history. For example, any decision 
by Lithuanians to enter into a political arrangement with Russia, 
even a status of full integration, could clearly be revoked in the fu- 
ture, as we have recent witnessed, by the people of Lithuania. Such 
an arrangement would at best last only as long as the people of 
Lithuania agreed to it; and in any case, it could not be one in 
which Lithuania became a Russian colony, that is, subject to Rus- 
sian government and legislation, without effective Lithuanian par- 
ticipation. 

The Serrano resolution must thus make clear that the right of 
self-determination of Puerto Rico is an inalienable right of the 
Puerto Rican people, independently of any citizenship or political 
status they might happen to hold. 

Secondly, the resolution should take note that a vote on status 
will take place in Puerto Rico in November, and then express the 
commitment of the Congress to respond promptly and forthrightly 
to whatever the results may be. It should also appear, clearly, in 
the text of the resolution — although it is, in any event, implicit in 
the sovereign nature of the United States — that the Congress need 
not, and should not, commit itself to granting whatever is re- 
quested — except, of course, independence, which is a right of the 
Puerto Rican people. 

The congressional response may be that it is not willing to grant 
statehood to a people who have an inalienable right to independ- 
ence and self-determination, or it may be that it is not willing to 
be a consensual participant in a colonial relationship. But answer, 
it must, in order to discharge its legal and historical responsibility. 

Whether the United States favors statehood for Puerto Rico — 
even knowing that it will not extinguish our right to independ- 
ence — or whether it is willing to discard the present arrangement 
and propose a new noncolonial relationship with Puerto Rico in 
which our sovereignty is fully recognized, and where all powers 
under the Territory clause are disposed of is, after all, a decision 
Congress must make. 

In closing, let me once again commend Chairman de Lugo and 
this Subcommittee for deciding to hold hearings on the Serrano res- 
olution. I would also like to express my optimism that we may be 
reaching a true watershed in the relationship between Puerto Rico 
and the United States. 

The historical reasons which stimulated a strategic and geo- 
political obsession with United States ownership of Puerto Rico are 
clearly on the wane. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly 
evident that domination, dependence, and subservience will lead 
ever-greater numbers of Puerto Ricans to imagine economic salva- 
tion in statehood while at the same time our vocation to exist as 
a Latin American and Caribbean nation is being continuously 
fueled and strengthened by history, geography, culture, ethnicity, 
demography, and nationalism. 

This heady mix will continue to oil under ever-greater pressures 
so long as Congress postpones the day of reckoning. It is our re- 
sponsibility, and yours, to make sure that the critical decisions will 
not be put off once again to an uncertain future. 

Thank you. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Martin follows:] 



74 



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AVENIDA ROOSEVELT 963 • PUERTO 



75 



Chairman Da Lugo, Members of the subcommittee on Insular and 
International Affairs, my name is Fernando Martin, Vice President 
of the Puerto Rican Independence Party. I shall testify on behalf 
of the President of the Party, Senator Ruben Barrios, who has been 
unable to accept your invitation to appear before you today because 
of pending legislative business in Puerto Rico. 

We welcome the initiative by Congressman Jose Serrano in 
introducing House concurrent Resolution 94, as well as the decision 
by this Subcommittee to hold public hearings on the Serrano 
Resolution at this time. 

Although the wording of the Resolution can -and should- be 
revised in order to ensure that the question of the right of the 
People of Puerto Rico to self determination is addressed in the 
clearest possible terms; and to ensurs further that consideration 
and approval of this Resolution will make an effective contribution 
to the decolonization of Puerto Rico; the Serrano Resolution is an 
important first step. It is a step in the right direction. It ought 
to meet with a prompt and straightforward response on the part of 
Congress to the results of the vote on political status preferences 
that will take piece in Puerto Rico next November 14. 

Those of us who took a direct part in the discussions and 
negotiations that led to the approval of H.R. 4765 in 1990 in the 
House -and who observed with dismay the defeat in Committee of S. 
244 in 1991- witnessed the profound reluctance of Congress as a 
whole to tackle, head on, the question of Puerto Rico 'a territorial 
status under the U.S. Constitution for which, after all, Congrees 



76 



is both originally and ultimately responsible. 

After a long history of political neglect in which Congress 
created and nurtured successive colonial regimes in Puerto Rico - 
from the Foraker Act of 1900 to the present Law of Federal 
Relations- at the same time that it promoted economic dependence, 
it was not surprising to see Congress as a whole recoiling from 
sponsoring a plebiscite in Puerto Rico that would have then, in all 
probability, resulted in a victory for the statehood option. 

I have no doubt that sighs of relief were heard in this city 
when it became evident in 1991 that a congressionally-sponsored 
referendum would not happen. It is critically important therefore 
that those of us who favor the final extinction of colonialism in 
Puerto Rico take all useful steps that will lead congress to have 
to face -again- the question of Puerto Rico's political status. 

The most important virtue of the status vote scheduled for 
next November 14 in Puerto Rico is that its results -whatever they 
may be- will provide an excellent opportunity for the exercise of 
congressional responsibility. In light of previous experience, it 
is necessary to promote an environment of understanding and 
commitment in the Congress that will ensure a prompt response to 
any referendum result. 

Two result appear as most probable at this time. The first is 
that neither statehood nor commonwealth will attain a majority of 
more than 50% of the vote. The participation of. the Independence 
alternative under the auspices and leadership of the Puerto Rican 
Independence Party may be sufficiently effective -as it has in the 
last 7 general elections in Puerto Rico- to deny a majority to 



77 



either the representatives of statehood or the representatives of 
commonwealth. 

It is important the Congress recognize in such a result a 
rejection, by majority vote, of statehood after 95 years of U.S. 
possession and control. By the same token, that same result -no 
majority- would also mean that commonwealth status no longer has 
majority support in Puerto Rico, more than 40 years after the 
unveiling of the newly designed colonial status in 1952. 

Statehood having failed to attain majority support and the 
existing colonial status having lost the alleged consent which 
Congress inferred from the result of the referenda in 1952 and 
1967, it is clear that a congressional initiative, unencumbered by 
majorities in favor of either statehood or the present colonial 
status, would be necessary in order to end colonialism in Puerto 
Rico. 

The second possible result, of course, is that statehood might 
achieve a majority, albeit a very fragile one. If this were the 
result, congress would have to express its position, clearly and 
definitively, concerning this option. 

In the unlikely scenario that the present status were to 
prevail by a majority, congress would have to decide whether it 
wishes to continue the present colonial relationship and its 
inherent instability, which continuously threatens to turn its 
extreme economic dependence into a request for a permanent welfare 
State. 

In any case, the moment will be ripe for Congress to act on 
the Puerto Rican question. Inasmuch as this Resolution generates 



78 



interest and discussion concerning the issue, and lays the 
groundwork for post-November legislative initiatives, it deserves 
the support of all those who believe that Congress cannot continue 
to avoid the responsibilities which the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and 
the Territory Clause of the U.S. Constitution impose upon it. 

In order for this Resolution to be an effective instrument in 
achieving these objectives, it is necessary that the following 
issue be addressed. First, it is important to clarify the question 
of self determination. This right exists for Puerto Ricans because 
they are a people, in terms of International Law. This means that 
they have, as opposed to residents of Iowa or Ohio, an inalienable 
right to independence and self determination. No plebiscite, 
referendum, or election can extinguish this right, which must be 
always available to successive generations. 

No one here would argue with History. For example, anj 
decision by Lithuanians to enter into a political arrangement wit* 
Russia, even a status of full integration, could clearly be revokec 
in the future -as we have recently witnessed- by the people o: 
Lithuania. Such an arrangement would at best last only as long ai 
the people of Lithuania agreed to it; and in any case, it could noi 
be one in which Lithuania became a Russian colony -that is, subjac 
to Russian government and legislation, without effective Lithuania 
participation . 

The Serrano Resolution must thus make clear that the right o 
self determination of Puerto Rico is an inalienable right of th 
Puerto Rican people, independently of any citizenship of politicz 
status they might happen to hold. 



79 



The historical reasons which stimulated a strategic and geo- 
political obsession with United States ownership of Puerto Rico are 
clearly on the wane. At the sane time, it is becoming increasingly 
evident that domination, dependence, and subservience will lead 
ever-greater numbers of Puerto Ricans to imagine economic salvation 
in statehood while at the same time our vocation to exist as a 
Latin American and Caribbean nation is being continuously fueled 
and strengthened by history, geography, culture, ethnicity, 
demography, and nationalism. 

This heady mix will continue to boil under ever greater 
pressures, so long as Congress postpones the day of reckoning. It 
is our responsibility -and yours- to make sure that the critical 
decisions will not be put off once again to an uncertain future. 

Thank you. 



80 

Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much. Listening to your statement 
and reading your statement, you say that — referring to the ques- 
tion of self-determination as it relates to the people of Puerto Rico, 
you stated, "This right exists for Puerto Ricans because they are 
a people in terms of international law. This means that they, as op- 
posed to the residents of Iowa or Ohio, have an inalienable right 
to independence and self-determination is theirs. No plebiscite, ref- 
erendum or election can distinguish this right which must be al- 
ways available to successive generations." 

Am I to understand that if the people of Puerto Rico, in a ref- 
erendum or a plebiscite, were to vote overwhelmingly for statehood, 
and the Congress would vote to bring Puerto Rico into the Union, 
that it would be your partes position that that was not a perma- 
nent union and that independence was still available? 

Mr. Martin. Absolutely. Remember, Mr. Chairman, that Puerto 
Rico belongs to the Puerto Rican people. Some of those Puerto 
Ricans have already died. Some of us are alive now. But most have 
not been born yet. The right of the people of Puerto Rico includes 
not only the right of this generation to exercise under appropriate 
conditions its right to self-determination, but we could not possibly 
throw the key away for other generations. 

So the right of a people to self-determination and independence 
is a continuous right. That is why I used the example of Lithuania. 
Knowing what we know about the international situation, I think 
that there would be great protest and indignation, for example, if 
the Russian Republic today said we are going to enter into an ar- 
rangement with Lithuania and it is going to last forever; and if the 
next generation doesn't like it, that is it, it is going to last. 

It is because of the historical context of the Civil War that cre- 
ates in the United States the notion for a very good reason that 
once you are in, you are in forever, because that question, apart 
from the Civil War situation, never came up because the growth of 
the United States as a Nation and the incorporation of new terri- 
tories into the States was an organic procession of growing into 
areas that were already populated by Americans. So the notion of 
having to incorporate another people in the international sense 
really never came up as an issue. 

That is why the United States was founded with the aspiration 
of being a unitary nation; although from a legal point of view, if 
this were addressed in the hypothesis because there were a major- 
ity of people who voted for statehood at some moment, you think 
one of the new questions the Congress would have to face, that it 
did not have to face in the other situation, was whether the case 
of Puerto Rico was a historically different case in ethnic terms so 
as to merit a different solution. 

I think it would be highly unwise in this day and age, where na- 
tionalities are reemerging as strong moving forces of history, for 
the United States to try to travel into a wilderness from which oth- 
ers are trying to escape quite rapidly. I think the experience of- 
nation-states which in the past tried to assimilate and incorporate 
nationals, I think in this day and age we have seen that that ex- 
periment was bound to fail. 

At a given moment in Puerto Rico, a majority possibly favored 
statehood at a given moment. The notion that that is equivalent to 



81 

a transformation of the Puerto Rican people, the people can only 
speak for themselves. They can surely not speak for their children 
or their grandchildren yet to be born. 

So long as Puerto Rico continues to be a nation and thinks of it- 
self as a nation, the political manifestation of that nationality will 
always be at a given moment the claim for sovereignty, self-govern- 
ment and the right to self-determination. 

The case of Quebec in Canada is illustrative. I don't know if they 
will ever become an independent state. But one thing I am sure of, 
it will be a thorn in the side of Canadian unity for generations to 
come. 

Mr. de Lugo. The gentleman from Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Senator Martin, I think your testimony is 
very clear and very concise. If I were of your ideology, I would 
probably think the same way. But, of course, there are differences 
in our opinions and differences in the way we perceive the solu- 
tions. 

I have no questions. I think it is quite clear to me. 

Mr. DE LUGO. The Chair has some questions of this witness. 

You made a number of thoughtful observations and suggestions. 
One suggestion is on clarifying the inalienable right of the Puerto 
Rican people to self-determination, independent of citizenship. I 
think I understand. 

But would you clarify for us what provision it is that you think 
should be revised? Are you concerned, for example, that the first 
"whereas" of the Serrano resolution, the clause that suggests that 
the people of Puerto Rico should have equal political rights with 
the residents of the States because they too are U.S. citizens and 
that this presumes a statehood solution? 

Mr. Martin. Mr. Chairman, I would not presume at this moment 
to try to sort of put in phrases between lines. I think the resolution 
means a general restructuring. I have no objection at all to its pur- 
poses and much less to the concept of a recognition of the right of 
self-determination of the Puerto Rican people. 

But rather than try to make a somewhat futile exercise at this 
point of trying to add a word here or a word there, I would be more 
than happy to make available to the Committee in the following 
days very precise language if that were useful for the Committee. 

But in conceptual terms at this moment, I think it is important 
that the clarification be made about the nature of the right of the 
Puerto Rican people to self-determination. 

I heard arguments here this morning. I heard, for example, Sec- 
retary of State Baltasar Corrada explain the case that was resolved 
by the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico in the 1960s concerning 
the voting of people outside of Puerto Rico. 

When I hear these things, I recognize that there seems to be 
some confusion as to how far constitutional law goes on this mat- 
ter. What is the nexus, if any? Is the law to be applied to a referen- 
dum in Puerto Rico simply the typical law that is applied to gen- 
eral elections, and if not, how far can we go? 

In the question of who are Puerto Ricans and who are not, obvi- 
ously that cannot be solved by traditional concepts of municipal 
law. It would have to be solved by different and newer concepts. 



82 

So I would be more than happy to let the Committee receive a very 
precise wording on the language that I would put there. 

Fundamentally, it goes to two points: the clarification of the sub- 
ject of self-determination and to make it clear that is the inalien- 
able right of the people of Puerto Rico; and second of all, I think 
there must be a strong urging in the resolution that Congress com- 
mit itself not to any particular solution or even to grant any par- 
ticular solution, except, of course, independence, which is a right, 
but to make it clear that it is committed to responding. 

The response might be good or bad, happy or sad, but I think we 
are all entitled to a clear, forthright, and prompt response. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The Serrano resolution would, of course — either by 
its title, intent or just by sheer coincidence of timing — refer to the 
November 14 plebiscite. I would like to ask a few questions related 
to that vote. 

Should Congress act on implementing a status that does not re- 
ceive majority support? 

Mr. Martin. I think that that would be truly more a political 
than legal question. First of all, from the legal point of view, Con- 
gress, as has been said here so many times, can do whatever it 
wants. It is a pity that it has chosen to do so little. 

If the status that has a majority vote in Puerto Rico is something 
that is less than 50 percent, from my view politically — not to enter 
into a long legal argument — it is inconceivable to me politically 
that the Congress would choose to act if the results in favor of any 
particular option, if the results were less than 50 percent. 

What I think would be politically possible and, in fact, from my 
point of view desirable, would be the contrary; that the Congress 
should see any alternative that gets less than 50 percent as being 
at that moment not favored by the majority of the population. 

If commonwealth gets 45 percent and statehood gets 45 percent, 
I think both of them have technically been voted against by the 
majority of the population. That would present the Congress with 
a real problem. 

First of all, statehood would not have gotten even the bare ma- 
jority necessary for serious discussion, and in the case of common- 
wealth it would present an even more serious problem because the 
United States' position concerning Puerto Rico for the past 50 years 
has been based on the following premise: That premise has been 
that commonwealth may have its defects; commonwealth may have 
its colonial vestiges and commonwealth may have its contradic- 
tions, but all of those limitations are somehow duly covered by pop- 
ular support. 

Once that popular support is shown to be not a majority any- 
more, the Congress would be faced with having a relationship with 
Puerto Rico of political subordination, which I think is now accept- 
ed by everybody, except that that relationship of political subordi- 
nation no longer has the support of the majority of the population. 
That, I think, will lead the Congress to have to act in order to try 
to correct what will then be not only a equivocally colonial situa- 
tion, but one which has lost any kind of support which it may have 
once had in Puerto Rico. 

I think that will pose an interesting question for the Congress. 



83 

Mr. DE Lugo. Senator Martin, are you troubled by lack of a clear 
process for local government action after the plebiscite? 

Mr. Martin. I think the legislature of Puerto Rico, when it ap- 
proved this bill, the majority— that is, the pro-statehood majority- 
was worried that they might not be able to get a majority of more 
than 50 percent. So therefore they acted in the best tradition of 
local courthouse politics. They must have asked themselves, I pre- 
sume, why design the post-referendum mechanism when we don't 
know the results yet? Since they have a majority, once they have 
the results, they can always design, after the vote, whatever mech- 
anism they want. That is politics for you. 

It shows great weakness, in my judgment, on the part of the gov- 
ernment and very little faith in the outcome of the referendum. But 
have no doubt that if they have a favorable outcome, they will de- 
sign and approve legislatively some kind of a mechanism. If they 
lose, or they get much less than they expected, they will simply 
send a kind of unreadable fax to the Congress in the hope that it 
will get lost in the transmission line. 

Mr. DE LUGO. The resolution refers to non-self-governing. Puerto 
Rico is not in the U.N. list of these areas because of consistent U.S. 
representations. President Bush last year essentially described 
Puerto Rico as a territory, replacing a basic executive branch policy 
more consistent with the U.S. representations in the U.N., includ- 
ing those made by Mr. Bush when he was our representative before 
the U.N. 

Should the U.S. now ask the U.N. to put Puerto Rico back on the 
list of territories, or what posture should it maintain with the U.N., 
in your judgment? 

Mr. Martin. I think the correct position for the United States is 
first to recognize what I think is the state of international law on 
this matter. Independently of how we characterize what happened 
in the United Nations in 1953 concerning the status of Puerto Rico 
and the circumstances that led to Puerto Rico being eliminated 
from the list of non-self-government territories, independently of 
how we characterize that experience, one thing is absolutely clear. 
In 1960, the General Assembly of the United Nation approved Res- 
olution 1514, and Resolution 1514 on its own terms and very spe- 
cifically applies not only to those territories that have not achieved 
self-government and not only those territories which are in trustee- 
ship, but very explicitly to any other territory that has not yet 
achieved its independence. That line was put there precisely to in- 
clude the case of Puerto Rico. 

So whether Puerto Rico is or is not on the list of non-self-govern- 
ing territories, Puerto Rico is surely covered by the mandate of the 
1960 resolution which, of course, is a later one. So the state of 
international law at this moment is that by virtue of Resolution 
1514, the United States has a mandate to transfer to the people 
of Puerto Rico all powers that it has over Puerto Rico, so that the 
people of Puerto Rico can then exercise their right to self-deter- 
mination. 

In that sense, the international law question is absolutely clear. 
It is not for me a question of whether Puerto Rico goes back to the 
list. The question is what is the attitude of the United States going 
to be in the United Nations concerning the question of Puerto Rico. 



84 

I think they should be more forthright and more sincere than 
they have been in the past now that the Cold War is a question 
of the past, and recognize that there is in Puerto Rico a serious 
problem. Self-determination has not been exercised or even fully 
exercised in Puerto Rico. The United States is not against that, and 
it is willing to enter into a process with the people of Puerto Rico 
that will lead to the eventual decolonization of Puerto Rico. 

Such a policy statement, of course, would be great news and an 
important step. But when the administration has not even sent a 
representative to testify here today, one wonders what their politi- 
cal will is at this point for a change of that nature. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Constantly, the territorial clause of the Constitu- 
tion is cited. You can make arguments on both sides as to whether 
or not it applies to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 

Should the United States seek by a constitutional amendment to 
remove the application of the territorial clause to the Common- 
wealth of Puerto Rico? 

Mr. Martin. First of all, as to whether the clause applies or does 
not apply, I am sure that perhaps you know that if it didn't apply, 
your Committee would not have any jurisdiction over Puerto Rico. 
So the jurisdiction of this committee over Puerto Rico is precisely 
by virtue of the fact that Congress has sovereignty over Puerto 
Rico. Otherwise, you would not have any authority to legislate over 
Puerto Rico. 

Undoubtedly, while Puerto Rico remains subject to the territorial 
clause, that means that Puerto Rico continues to be a colony of the 
United States. The only remedy to being within the territorial 
clause is to be without the territorial clause. If Puerto Rico is out- 
side the territorial clause, its only possible link to the United 
States can be under the treaty-making powers of the President of 
the United States under the Constitution. There is no other way 
for the people of Puerto Rico to enter into an agreement with the 
United States. 

Either we are the subjects of legislation by virtue of the jurisdic- 
tion that Congress has over Puerto Rico in this case and we are 
under the territorial clause, or the Congress disposes of Puerto 
Rico, recognizes its sovereignty and then enters into arrangements 
with Puerto Rico — not, of course, under the territorial clause, but 
by virtue of the treaty-making powers of the President under the 
same Constitution. 

Undoubtedly, the fact of colonialism in Puerto Rico has its legal 
underpinning in our subjection under the territorial clause. The 
only way that Puerto Rico will cease to be a colony is if it is not 
subject to that clause. 

Mr. DE Lugo. I want to thank you, Senator Martin, for the help 
you have been to this Committee today and for coming here. 

Our next witness is going to speak for commonwealth status. 
Commonwealth will be very ably represented here today by the Mi- 
nority Leader from the Puerto Rico — House of Representatives of 
Puerto Rico. Representing the Popular Democratic Party's Com- 
monwealth Party is the Minority Leader of the Puerto Rico House, 
Jose Enrique Arraras. He is a former Secretary of Housing. 



85 

Representative Arraras, it is a great pleasure to have you before 
the Committee at this time. Your statement, without objection, will 
be made a part of the record in its entirety at this point. 

You may proceed to read your statement or summarize or make 
any comments that you feel are important in making the case for 
commonwealth and giving the commonwealth position before the 
Committee. 

STATEMENT OF HON. JOSE ENRIQUE ARRARAS, A MINORITY 
LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF PUERTO RICO, ON BEHALF OF 
MIGUEL HERNANDEZ AGOSTO, PRESDDENT OF THE POPU- 
LAR DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF PUERTO RICO 

Mr. Arraras. Thank you. 

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Resident Commissioner, my name is Jose 
Enrique Arraras. I am the Minority Leader of the House of Rep- 
resentatives of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, representing 
today the Popular Democratic Party and its President, Senator 
Miguel Hernandez Agosto. 

The process and the right of self-determination of the people of 
Puerto Rico was first exercised, although not exhausted, in 1952 
with the adoption of our present status of commonwealth. Any con- 
gressional action or expression with regard to the status of Puerto 
Rico must recognize the process that concluded in the adoption of 
the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act and the Constitution of the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico "in the nature of a compact" be- 
tween Puerto Rico and the United States. The process of self-deter- 
mination of 1952 and its results, were presented to and accepted 
by the United Nations in 1953. This "unique" relationship, as ex- 
pressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, has been recognized in several 
cases before that Court and the several Circuit and District Courts 
of the Federal court system. But the adoption of the Common- 
wealth in 1953 did not terminate our right of self-determination. 
The commonwealth status option possesses the element of flexibil- 
ity to continue its growth and reaffirmation. 

In 1967, again, the people of Puerto Rico, in the exercise of its 
right to political self-determination and of its right of petition, con- 
ducted a second plebiscite. On that occasion, the commonwealth 
status won and was given a clear mandate to petition from Con- 
gress modifications to the existing permanent relationship. The re- 
sults of that process and its requests were never implemented by 
Congress. 

Most recently, from 1989 to 1991, almost 12 years later, a dia- 
logue committee representing the three political status options ne- 
gotiated with Representatives of Congress the celebration of a pleb- 
iscite and the further implementation of the political option to be 
selected by the people of Puerto Rico. Although a bill was passed 
by the House of Representatives, it was not approved by the Senate 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee, thus frustrating a plebi- 
scite in 1991. We ran out of time in the last session of Congress 
to complete that process. We urge this Honorable House of Rep- 
resentatives to continue the efforts and work already accomplished 
by the last Congress. 

H. Con. Res. 94 calls to "reaffirm the commitment of the people 
of the United States to the principle of self-determination." We sup- 



86 

port such a reaffirmation and the disposition of the resolution that j 
"endorses the right of the people of Puerto Rico to political self-de- 
termination." 

During the present year, new administrations have emerged in 
Washington and in San Juan. President Clinton has supported the 
principle of self-determination and the platform of the Democratic 
Party endorsed the idea of a plebiscite "in concert" with Congress. 
The platform of the pro-statehood party in Puerto Rico provides for 
a plebiscite among the three political status options in 1993. Gov- 
ernor Pedro Rossello has just stamped his signature to an act that 
calls for a plebiscite on November 14 of this year. The Popular 
Democratic Party endorses the idea of this consultation, even 
though we voted against the enactment of that law because of the 
numerous failures it contains. Among them we can point out the 
following: 

One, the lack of the requirement of a majority vote of the people 
of Puerto Rico to select the status option; 

Two, nonresident Puerto Ricans were not provided their right to 
participate in the plebiscite; 

Three, the exclusion of any meaningful mechanism to incorporate 
Congress in this process before the plebiscite is held, by which the 
people of Puerto Rico can get an assurance that Congress will re- 
spond to our legitimate and democratic expression. 

Nevertheless, we can still achieve a real and meaningful process 
of self-determination if Congress, following its experience with the 
1989-91 process and its commitment to self-determination con- 
tained in H. Con. Res. 94 approves an act turning the November 
14 electoral event into one made "in concert" with Congress. 

In order for said plebiscite to be meaningful, the endorsement of 
the Congress of the right of the people of Puerto Rico to political 
self-determination must have some consequence. Therefore, Con- 
gress must go farther than just merely endorsing our right to self- 
determination. In light of the above, Congress must respond to the 
expressed status preference of the people of Puerto Rico. 

To this effect we respectfully request this Congress to enact a bill 
similar to the draft bill which we enclosed with our testimony, 
which will form part of the record. This draft is similar to a bill 
recently filed by the Popular Democratic Party in the Legislative 
Assembly of Puerto Rico. This proposed bill calls for: 

The creation of a dialogue committee; 

A fast-track procedure to respond to the people of Puerto Rico; 
and 

That any further consultation, referendum or plebiscite on the 
matter of the political status after November 1993 and any ratifica- 
tion vote to implement an enabling political status act shall com- 
mand as a prerequisite the approval by at least the majority of the 
voters, as well as the desired participation of all native nonresident 
Puerto Ricans. These elements were also contained in H.R.4765. 

By enacting this draft bill, Congress will accomplish: 

The reaffirmation of the commitment of the people of the United 
States to the principle of self-determination;. 

The endorsement of a plebiscite "in concert" with Congress; and. 



87 

A fairer process of political self-determination emanating from 
the people of Puerto Rico, and a continuation of the process initi- 
ated in the last Congress. 

We cannot end our testimony today without respectfully calling 
your attention to the second paragraph of H. Con. Res. 94 that 
"reasserts the principle * * * that with respect to territories whose 
people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government, the 
interest of the inhabitants of such territories are paramount." That 
language contradicts the official and still valid statements of the 
United States Government before the United Nations since 1953. 

Since 1953, the United States has unequivocally stated that after 
the establishment of a political relationship "in the nature of a 
compact" between the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Unit- 
ed States of America, Puerto Rico is no longer a territory. Thus, in 
its official memorandum to the United Nations informing the en- 
actment of the commonwealth status, the United States expressed 
that "with the establishment of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 
the people of Puerto Rico have attained a full measure of self-gov- 
ernment." 

Subsequently, the United Nations General Assembly ratified the 
establishment of the Commonwealth as a nonterritorial and self- 
governing status by resolving that: * * * "the people of the Com- 
monwealth have effectively exercised their right to self-determina- 
tion"; and that. "* * * the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico have been invested with attributes of political sovereignty 
which clearly identify the status of self-government attained by the 
Puerto Rican people as that of an autonomous political entity." 

Up to this date, this is the official position of the General Assem- 
bly of the United Nations concerning the commonwealth status. We 
should not lose sight of the fact that the U.N. General Assembly 
is the only U.N. entity with competence to decide whether "non- 
self-governing territory' has or has not attained a full measure of 
self-government as referred to in Chapter XI of the U.N. Charter. 

Thank you for your attention, and I will be available for any 
questions that you may deem necessary. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Arraras follows:] 



88 



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

OF THE UNITED STATES 

SUBCOMMITTEE ON INSULAR AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS 

OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES 



TESTIMONY OF 

MR. JOSE ENRIQUE ARRARAS ON BEHALF OF 

MIGUEL HERNANDEZ AGOSTO, PRESIDENT OF 

THE POPULAR DEMOCRATIC PARTY 



JULY 13, 1993 



H. CON. RES. 94 

"Expressing the sense of the Congress regarding 

the expression of self determination by the 

people of Puerto Rico." 

By Mr. Serrano and referred jointly to the 
Committees on Foreign Affairs and Natural Resources. 



WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.A. 



89 



TESTIMONY OF MR. JOSE ENRIQUE ARRARAS, REPRESENTATIVE 
OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE POPULAR DEMOCRATIC PARTY 
OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO 
IN RELATION TO H. CON. RES. 94 



Mr. Chairman, Honorable Committee members and all persons gathered here this 
morning to consider the House Concurrent Resolution 94, with the purpose of "Expressing 
the sense of the Congress regarding the expression of self-determination by the people of 
Puerto Rico". 

I am Jose Enrique Arraras, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives of the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Representing the Popular Democratic Party and its 
President, Mr. Miguel Hernandez Agosto. 

The process and the right of self-determination of the people of Puerto Rico was first 
exercised, although not exhausted, in 19S2 with the adoption of our present status of 
Commonwealth. Any Congressional action or expression with regard to the status of Puerto 
Rico must recognize the process that concluded in the adoption of the Puerto Rico Federal 
Relations Act and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico "in the nature of 
a compact" between Puerto Rico and the United States. The process of self-determination 
of 1952 and its results, were presented to and accepted by the United Nations in 1953. This 
"unique" relationship, as expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court, has been recognized in 
several cases before that Court and the several Circuits and District Courts of the Federal 
Court's System. But the adoption of the Commonwealth in 1953, did not terminate our 
right of self-determination. The Commonwealth Status option possesses the element of 
flexibility to continue its growth and reaffirmation. 

In 1967, again, the people of Puerto Rico, in the exercise of its right to political 



90 



Page 2 

Testimony Mr. Jose' E. Arraras 

H. Con. Res. 94 



self-determination and of its right of petition, conducted a second plebiscite. On that 
occasion the Commonwealth status won and was given a clear mandate to petition from 
Congress modifications to the existing permanent relationship. The results of that process 
and its requests were never implemented by Congress. Most recently, from 1989 to 1991, 
almost twelve years later, a Dialogue Committee representing the three political status 
options negotiated with representatives of Congress the celebration of a plebiscite and the 
further implementation of the political option to be selected by the people of Puerto Rico. 
Although a bill was passed by the House of Representatives, it was not approved by the 
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, thus frustrating a Plebiscite in 1991. We 
ran out of time in the last Session of Congress to complete that process. We urge this 
Honorable House of Representatives to continue the efforts and work already accomplished 
by the last Congress. 

H. Con. Res. 94 calls to "reaffirm the commitment of the people of the United States 
to the principle of self-determination". We support such a reaffirmation and the disposition 
of the Resolution that "endorses the right of the people of Puerto Rico to political 
self-determination." 

During the present year new administrations have emerged in Washington and in San 
Juan. President Clinton has supported the principle of self-determination and the platform 
of the Democratic Party endorsed the idea of a Plebiscite "in concert" with Congress. The 
platform of the pro-statehood party in Puerto Rico provides for a plebiscite among the three 
political status options in 1993. Governor Pedro Rossell6 has just stamped his signature to 



91 



Page 3 

Testimony Mr. Jos6 E. Arraras 

H. Con. Res. 94 



an act that calls for a Plebiscite on november 14th of this year. The Popular Democratic 
Party endorses the idea of a plebiscite even though we voted against the enactment of that 
law because of the numerous failures it contains. Among them we can summarize the 
following: 

• the lack of the requirement of a majority vote of the people of Puerto Rico 
to select the status option; 

* non resident Puerto Ricans were not provided their right to participate in 
the Plebiscite; 

* the exclusion of any meaningful mechanism to incorporate Congress in this 
process before the plebiscite is held, by which the people of Puerto Rico can 
get an assurance that Congress will respond to our legitimate and democratic 
expression, and, 

• Governor Rossell6 of the New Progressive Party rejected to seek a 
consensus among the three political parties regarding our exercise of 
self-determination, as was done by the Dialogue Committee during the prior 
administration. In other words, the statehood party, as a party which does not 
command a majority vote, is imposing its own rules on Puerto Rico's self- 
determination process. 

Nevertheless, we can still achieve a real and meaningful process of self-determination 
if Congress, following its experience with the 1989-91 process and its commitment to 
self-determination contained in H. Con. Res. 94, approves an Act turning the November 
14th electoral event into one made "in concert" with Congress. 

In order for said plebiscite to be meaningful, the endorsement of the Congress of the 
right of the people of Puerto Rico to political self-determination must have some 
consequence. Therefore, Congress must go farther than just merely endorse our right to 
self-determination. In light of the above, Congress must respond to the expressed status 



92 



Page 4 

Testimony Mr. Jose E. Arraras 

H. Con. Res. 94 



preference of the people of Puerto Rico. 

To this effect we respectfully, nevertheless, firmly request this Congress to enact a 
bill similar to the draft bill enclosed with our testimony. This draft is similar to a bill 
recently filed by the Popular Democratic Party in the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico. 
This proposed bill will provide for: 

• The creation of a Dialogue Committee with representatives of the three 
status options. This Committee will be the official liaison between the people 
of Puerto Rico and Congress, concerning any negotiation for the 
implementation of the status option selected by the people of Puerto Rico. 
This committee is necessary to maintain direct communication with Congress 
and to guarantee a fair process of self-determination and not a one sided 
demonstration of force by the Party currently in power in Puerto Rico; 

• A fast track procedure to respond to the People of Puerto Rico. This idea 
of a fast track procedure is not new. It was included in H.R. 4765 which was 
approved unanimously by this House of Representatives on October 10, 1990; 

• Any further consultation, referendum or plebiscite on the matter of the 
political status after November 1993 and any ratification vote to implement 
an enabling political status act shall command as a prerequisite, the approval 
by at least the majority of the voters; as well as the desired participation of 
all native nonresident Puerto Ricans. These elements were also contained in 
H.R. 4765. 

By enacting this draft bill, Congress will accomplish, among others, the following 
important objectives: 

• the reaffirmation of the commitment of the people of the United States to 
the principle of self-determination as provided in H. Con. Res. 94; 

• endorsement of a Plebiscite "in concert" with Congress; 

• a fairer process of political self-determination emanated from the people 
of Puerto Rico; and a continuation of the process initiated in the last 
Congress. 



93 



Page 5 

Testimony Mr. Jos6 E. Arraras 

H. Con. Res. 94 



We cannot end our testimony today without respectfully calling your attention to the 
second paragraph of H. Con. Res. 94, that "reasserts the principle... that with respect to 
territories whose people have not vet attained a f ull measure of self-government (emphasis 
added), the interest of the inhabitants of such territories are paramount". That language 
contradicts the official and still valid statements of the United States Government before 
the United Nations since 1953. 

Since 1953, the United Stated has unequivocally stated that after the establishment 
a political relationship "in the nature of a compact" between the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico and the United States of America, Puerto Rico is no longer a territory. Thus, in its 
official memorandum to the United Nations informing the enactment of the Commonwealth 
Status, the United States expressed that "with the establishment of the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, the people of Puerto Rico have attained a full measure of self-government." 
Dept. of State Bulletin, April 20, 1953. 

Subsequently, the United Nations General Assembly ratified the establishment of the 
Commonwealth as a non-territorial and self-governing status by resolving that: 

• "...the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have effectively 
exercised their right to self-determination; 

* "...the people of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have been invested 
with attributes of political sovereignty which clearly identify the status of self- 
government attained by the Puerto Rican people as that of an autonomous 
political entity." United Nations General Assembly Resolution 748 (VUJ) 
Tided "Cessation of the Transmission of Information under Article 73(e) of 
the Charter in Respect of Puerto Rico", November 27, 1953 

Up to this date, this is the official position of the General Assembly of the United Nations 



76-006 0-94-4 



94 



Page 6 

Testimony Mr. Jose 1 E. Arraras 

H. Con. Res. 94 



concerning the Commonwealth Status. We should not lose sight of the fact that the U.N. 
General Assembly is the only U.N. entity with competence to decide whether "Non-Self- 
Governing Territory" has or has not attained a full measure of self government as referred 
to in Chapter XI of the U.N. Charter. 

Thank you for your attention and I will be available for any questions that you may 
deem necessary. 



95 



103RD CONGRESS HR. 

1ST Session 



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES 



A BILL 



To adopt the political status option selected by the majority of 
the people of Puerto Rico as it might be expressed in the 
political status referendum to held on November 14, 1993, or 
thereafter before December 19%. 



STATEMENT OF PURPOSES 

The Legislative Assembly of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has determined the 
celebration of a plebiscite on November 14, 1993, concerning the political status of the 
people of Puerto Rico and its political relationship with the United States of America. This 
Congress, recognizing the inalienable right of the people of Puerto Rico to exercise their 
self-determination, herein enacts this Bill with the following purposes: 

1. Express the commitment of the Congress of the United States regarding the 
enactment of the political status option chosen by the majority of the people 
of Puerto Rico in a legitimate exercise of self-determination 

2. Establish the appropriate mechanisms and procedures to implement the 
political status selected by the people of Puerto Rico 

3. Reaffirm the principle of International Law which guarantees the nationals 
of a country or group of people constituting a nationality, the right to exercise 
their right to self-determination. 



96 



Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of 
America in Congress assembled, 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND REAFFIRMATION OF PRINCIPLES 

This act may be cited as the "Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act" of 1993. This 

Congress reaffirms the commitment of the United States of America to the principle of 

political self-determination and endorses the right of the people of Puerto Rico to exercise, 

once more, their right to self-determination. 

SECTION 2.- DIALOGUE COMMITTEE AS THE OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF 
THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO BEFORE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

This Congress recognizes the need of a "Dialogue Committee on the Political Status 
of Puerto Rico" (hereinafter in this act referred to as the "Dialogue Committee") hereby 
created, as the official representative of the people of Puerto Rico before the United States 
of America regarding all political status matters leading up to the celebration of the political 
status plebiscite. 

The Committee shall be composed by the Presidents of the three principal political 
parties of Puerto Rico. Each President shall also appoint a delegate to represent him and 
his party at the Committee. Congress will provide adequate office facilities in Washington, 
D.C. and in San Juan for the Committee's conduct of business. 
SECTION 3. FAST TRACK PROCEDURE 

Within a time limit not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days after the State 
Elections Commission of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officially certifies the status 
option selected by a majority of the people of Puerto Rico in the plebiscite, Congress shall, 
pursuant to consultation and negotiation with the President of the political party 
representing the selected political status option, officially notify to the people of Puerto Rico 



97 



its approval or refusal to enact the status option chosen by the majority in said plebiscite. 

The failure of Congress to officially notify the people of Puerto Rico within the one hundred 

eighty (180) day deadline, or within the current Congressional term at the date of 

celebration of said plebiscite, shall be construed as a refusal to enact the status option 

selected by a majority of the people of Puerto Rico. 

If Congress approves the enactment of the status option selected by the majority in 

said plebiscite, it shall then, within a time limit not to exceed sixty (60) days after it officially 

notifies the people Puerto Rico such approval, in consultation and negotiation with the 

President of the political party representing the selected status option, introduce and enact 

the appropriate status enabling legislation. 

SECTION 4.- MAJORITY VOTE AS PREREQUISITE FOR CONGRESSIONAL 
RECOGNITION OF POLITICAL STATUS SELECTION 

Notwithstanding the plebiscite to be held on November 14, 1993, this Congress 
determines as an essential prerequisite necessary for the implementation of any political 
status enabling legislation, the selection in any consultation, referendum or future plebiscite, 
of a political status option by an absolute majority of the people of Puerto Rico. 
SECTION 5.- RATIFYING VOTE ON LEGISLATION 

If enacted, the political status enabling legislation approved by Congress shall be 
submitted to the people of Puerto Rico for ratification by an absolute majority of the people 
of Puerto Rico, not later than sixty days after its enactment The legislation shall take effect 
in accordance upon the approval by the people of Puerto Rico in the ratification vote. 
SECTION 6.- NONRESIDENT PUERTO RICANS 

(a) Congress finds that: 

1. a substantial number of the people of Puerto Rico reside outside of 



98 



Puerto Rico 



2. the Legislative Assembly of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has the 
authority to enable some Puerto Ricans who are United States Citizens 
residing in places other than Puerto Rico to vote in a referendum or 
plebiscite on the matter of the political status of Puerto Rico. 

(b) Congress hereby authorizes the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico to enable 
Puerto Ricans not residents in Puerto Rico to register and vote in any consultation, 
referendum or plebiscite, without being present in Puerto Rico. Such persons may include 
those born in Puerto Rico or those who have at least one parent who was born in Puerto 
Rico. 

Therefore, any further consultation, referendum or future plebiscite on the political 
status of Puerto Rico, after November 1993, shall consider the participation of nonresident 
Puerto Ricans 
SECTION 7.- EFFECTIVENESS 

This Bill shall be effective immediately upon its approval 



99 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you very much for your presentation and 
for coming here this morning. 

Let me say, this is the first I have seen of your draft bill. We 
just received it a few minutes ago. If Congress were to move on this 
bill, wouldn't it be viewed as sabotaging the efforts of the Govern- 
ment of Puerto Rico to hold their November 14 plebiscite? 

Mr. Arraras. Not if you move very quickly. If you move very 
quickly, there would be no problem. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Well, by just a casual reading of the legislation, 
this is not legislation that historically the Congress could move 
quickly on. I mean, there are questions that you put forward such 
as, establishing a dialogue committee and setting up a process. But 
when you say, "Congress shall express the commitment of the Con- 
gress of the United States regarding the enactment of the political 
status option chosen by the majority of the people of Puerto Rico 
in a legitimate exercise of self-determination/ then you get into ar- 
guments back and forth of what is that commitment, how binding 
is it, and what are you committing to? 

The reality of the situation that I have seen in my almost 20 
years in this House, I am sad to say, is that Congress — and per- 
haps this is true in other legislative bodies, too — never wants to 
tackle a tough question until they absolutely have to. They will put 
it off. They will avoid it. 

Certainly the political status of Puerto Rico is a tough question. 

That is why I think it was so tragic that we lost the opportunity 
with the legislation that passed the House back in 1990, where you 
had the House of Representatives ready to commit to a process and 
commit to a response that if the people of Puerto Rico chose a polit- 
ical status that the Congress would respond. 

But you will recall what happened there. There were those on 
the other side that said, we can go further, we are going to spell 
out the political status and we want Congress to commit to what- 
ever political status wins, and that is it. 

The Congress will not do that, we have found out. 

Mr. Arraras. I agree with you, sir, but what we are looking for 
is an answer, a response from Congress. And the weakness of the 
November 14 consultation process, where a commonwealth is going 
to be present and will be defended by the Popular Democratic 
Party is that there is no mechanism to get a meaningful response 
from Congress in an adequate period of time. 

We have had this experience that you mentioned, sir, and that 
is the reason why we would like to see if this concurrent resolution 
of Representative Serrano, Congressman Serrano, goes further. 
There should be some recognition of the fact that there is a plebi- 
scite going on in Puerto Rico and that there is going to be some 
response from Congress. 

Mr. DE Lugo. All right. Have you sought a sponsor for this legis- 
lation? 

Mr. Arraras. I beg your pardon, sir. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Have you sought a sponsor? A sponsor, someone 
to introduce it? 

Mr. Arraras. No, we have not. Basically, we are trying to make 
the point of what we feel is the ideal situation. We agree with your 
assessment and analysis of the situation, but we want to make 



100 

clear that the position of our party and of commonwealth support- 
ers is that the will and the participation of the people of Puerto 
Rico in the November 14 plebiscite should result in a response from 
Congress. So we are trying basically, more important than any- 
thing else, to make our point regarding this matter. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Enrique, it has been reported your party will de- 
fine its aspirations as including a relationship under which con- 
gressional territorial clause powers would not apply and will pro- 
tect the Federal incentive for U.S. corporate economic activity in 
Puerto Rico that is so important to the economy at present. That 
is section 936. , 

Are you in a position at this time to give us an idea of the defini- 
tion that is being drafted? 

Mr. Arraras. No, I am not, sir, because at this point our govern- 
ing board is discussing and making a final decision. It should be 
ready by the end of this week and we will be very pleased to sub- 
mit it to you in writing. We should have it ready probably by Fri- 
day of this week. 

But, basically, that definition is based on several principles 
which I could enumerate to you right now. 

Basically, number one, and the most important one, is the fact 
there is a compact by mutual consent between the people of Puerto 
Rico and the Government of the United States; number two, that 
there is a permanent union between the United States and Puerto 
Rico, American citizenship, a common market, a common currency, 
common defense, the protection of our cultural identity as Puerto 
Ricans, our sports sovereignty, fiscal autonomy, and those Federal 
benefits to which we are entitled as American citizens; and we will 
be making requests for strengthening the commonwealth status by 
giving us more power in regard to our economic development. 

Those are basically the outgoing principles. As soon as we have 
the definition, we will submit it to you. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Well, should the voters consider the parties' defini- 
tions as final definitions of the status or are they merely aspira- 
tions? 

Mr. Arraras. Each political party, according to the legislation 
that was approved, will make the definition of its own status pref- 
erence and there will be an explanation in the ballot of the for- 
mulas. That is the position that will be presented to the voters and 
they will be able not only to vote for each principle or formula but 
for a definition of what they are voting for. 

Mr. DE LUGO. But this is a broad definition that can be changed 
later? 

Mr. Arraras. No, these are very specific definitions, and in the 
case of commonwealth, we feel that any change in commonwealth 
status regarding any of its terms should be approved by the people 
of Puerto Rico before presenting it to Congress. 
Mr. DE LUGO. Gentleman from Puerto Rico. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Good afternoon, Mr. Arraras. 
Mr. Arraras. Good afternoon, Mr. Resident Commissioner. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Welcome. 
Mr. Arraras. Thank you. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I was listening and reading your testi- 
mony, and I see on the first page where you talk about the unique 



101 

quote-unquote relationship as expressed by the Supreme Court and 
it is recognized in several cases before the court. What about the 
Rosario-Harris case? Are you familiar with the Rosario case versus 
Patricia Harris? 

Mr. Arraras. Yes, I know the case. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What did that case decide? 

Mr. Arraras. I don't want to get into a juridical argument be- 
cause the point here, Mr. Resident Commissioner, is there is not 
a definite decision by the United States Supreme Court at this 
point. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. That case did not decide it was a territory 
and that the Congress had territorial powers over Puerto Rico and, 
therefore, they were not entitled to equal benefits? 

Mr. Arraras. I don't understand the case in that way. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I think if you read it, it is very short, it 
is only two paragraphs, and it decided that Puerto Rico was within 
the territorial powers of Congress, very clearly. That is why they 
say we are not entitled to equal benefits in the Federal programs 
and Congress can do as it pleases on that. So that there is no 
unique relationship. There is a unique name in commonwealth, 
isn't there? 

Mr. Arraras. The Government of the United States, ever since 
its inception, has stated very clearly that this is a unique relation- 
ship. There has been no reversal by the Supreme Court of the Unit- 
ed States of the commonwealth status, and if there are any doubts 
about it, this is a good time to clarify in the plebiscite we are going 
to have. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The commonwealth is established, then? 

Mr. Arraras. Absolutely. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It is under Constitution. 

Mr. Arraras. It is within the Constitution; not necessarily with- 
in the territorial clause. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What clause talks about that? 

Mr. Arraras. There should be a clarification regarding the role 
or place of the commonwealth status within the Constitution of the 
United States. That is up really to the courts and to the judiciary 
to decide. But one alternative is to include, if necessary, the com- 
monwealth relationship as a constitutional amendment to the Unit- 
ed States, if necessary. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Are we subject to environmental laws 
passed by Congress? 

Mr. Arraras. We are because of the compact, as you know. We 
have several of the clauses of the Federal Relations Act still apply- 
ing to Puerto Rico, and that is part of the compact. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What is part of the compact? If a law is 
passed today by Congress with environmental aspects; the compact 
says it will be applicable. 

Mr. Arraras. I understand. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not by the territorial powers of Congress, 
not by virtue of the 

Mr. Arraras. In the case of the compact, we gave a consent ac- 
cording to the prevailing clauses of the Federal relation statute, in- 
cluding section 9. 



102 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Puerto Rico gave a consent for the Con- 
gress to legislate as it saw fit regarding Puerto Rico? 

Mr. Arraras. We voted for that in certain areas. There are other 
areas of self-government which are clearly defined for the benefit 
of the people of Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And that is why Congress has the author- 
ity, because the people of Puerto Rico gave it to Congress? 

Mr. Arraras. I think we have a compact. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What kind of a compact? A compact that 
you can enforce? Are you accepting whatever happens regarding 
section 936 in Congress? That has the consent of the people of 
Puerto Rico? 

Mr. Arraras. The thing is in the case of section 936, we have 
fiscal autonomy, but as you know, these are benefits which are 
under the Internal Revenue Code. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What do you understand as fiscal auton- 
omy? 

Mr. Arraras. I beg your pardon? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What do you understand as fiscal auton- 
omy? Can you explain what you understand by fiscal autonomy? 

Mr. Arraras. We have the ability to give tax exemption because 
we have control over our taxes. We are not taxed by the Federal 
Government. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Then that does not mean that the Federal 
Government cannot impose taxes in Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Arraras. I understand the Federal Government cannot im- 
pose taxes on Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. No? 

Mr. Arraras. Except taxes where we have certain benefits, like 
social security taxes. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What is happening as an amendment to 
section 936? Is a tax not being imposed: on the companies? 

Mr. Arraras. This is something that we are going to have, Resi- 
dent Commissioner, we are going to have in our formula. We are 
going to request a clarification of section 936. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Do they not collect custom duties in Puer- 
to Rico? 

Mr. Arraras. But they send us back the revenues. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But the taxpayer pays it. Only the gov- 
ernment gets it back after collections. The cost of the collection is 
deducted, but the taxpayer doesn't get it back. 

Mr. Arraras. It is for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico. 
It is important for the government. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But Congress has a right to impose it and 
does impose it and gives it back. 

Mr. Arraras. But that ispart of the compact. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The compact says Congress will give it 
back, or was it there before any such compact, as you say, was 
signed? 

Mr. Arraras. That has been the customary use that has been 
since very many years. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Because Congress wants to do it. Con- 
gress couldn't take it away if it wanted to today? What about the 
excise taxes? Did they limit it? 



103 



Mr. Arraras. They go back to the 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not all of them. There is a limit to them. 
Did you know that? 
Mr. Arraras. There is a limit. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So what happens to the compact? Why 
have you not filed a lawsuit to enforce the compact? 
Mr. Arraras. These are taxes that are in the United States. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Why have you not filed a lawsuit to en- 
force the compact and say, Congress, you cannot do that? Why have 
you not done that? If I believed that, I would do that. 

Mr. Arraras. Basically, see, that is the reason, Resident Com- 
missioner, that we want clarification; that we welcome the plebi- 
scite. Because the commonwealth status is not perfect, but, fortu- 
nately, it is what the people of Puerto Rico have created for its own 
benefit, and it is a formula that I know you dislike and that you 
attack as colonial, but certainly, Resident Commissioner, and Mr. 
Chairman, it is the best of two worlds. 

It is something that we have created and that has most of the 
advantages of statehood and most of the advantages of being an 
independent country and it does not have the weaknesses and the 
disadvantage of being a State or being a republic. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Is the right to vote for the President of 
the Nation that you are a citizen of, is that a weakness? 
Mr. Arraras. Is that a weakness? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I would like you to explain that because 
I thought it was a strength. 

Mr. Arraras. If we wanted to vote for the President of the Unit- 
ed States, we would have to join the Union as a State and we don't 
want to do that because we don't want to lose our tools for eco- 
nomic development; we don't want to lose our sports participation 

in the Olympics, in the Pan-American games and the 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And that is more important than the 
right to vote in a democracy; to vote for your President? 

Mr. Arraras. Resident Commissioner, you cannot isolate. You 
have to look at this in totality, and I specifically stated that there 
are many advantages and there are some disadvantages, but in to- 
tality, our formula is superior to statehood. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Is having representation in Congress an 
advantage or disadvantage? 
Mr. Arraras. It is an advantage. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And the more votes you have, the greater 
the advantage you have. 

Mr. Arraras. But then you cannot have your tools for economic 
development. You could not have section 936, for instance. When 
we have statehood you will lose and we will lose 300,000 jobs, di- 
rect and indirect jobs. And we have tools for the development of the 
economy. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Have you read the new General Account- 
ing Office report? Have you read this? 
Mr. Arraras. No. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. This is dated June 1993. I will read to 

you a paragraph of that report and see what you think about this: 

"The faster growth rate of Puerto Rico's gross domestic product 

compared to the gross national product means that an increasing 



104 

portion of total income produced in Puerto Rico went to the United 
States and foreign investors than to Puerto Rican residents. 

The trends in gross domestic product and gross national product 
are the logical result of Puerto Ricans' development strategy which 
emphasizes long-term tax reduction to U.S. firms that locate in 
Puerto Rico and section 936 which allows tax-free repatriation of 
profits to the mainland. These complimentary tax policies are tied 
to income earned in Puerto Rico and not to investment in plant and 
equipment or job creation. 

Over time, these policies attracted industries to Puerto Rico that 
rely more on capital, including intangible assets — tangible assets 
are the patent rights — than labor for manufacturing goods, because 
relatively little of the cost of manufacturing is paid in the form of 
wages and the capital is owned by non-Puerto Ricans. 

Relatively little income from this industry is retained in Puerto 
Rico. A substantial portion of the income generated by these indus- 
tries is transferred off the island, principally to mainland parents." 

Isn't this an indictment of that policy? Isn't this showing you 
that we have been exploited; that these companies are making 
money but they are not really investing in Puerto Rico? Isn't 
that 

Mr. Arraras. Any corporation that establishes itself in Puerto 
Rico goes there for the profit motive. They don't go there for ideal- 
ism, they go there to make money. What we look for is the creation 
of jobs, and you have to recognize that 300,000 jobs, direct and in- 
direct, created by 936 are essential to the well-being of the Puerto 
Rican economy and particularly if you don't have, as your govern- 
ment doesn't have, Resident Commissioner, a viable alternative for 
economic development. 

How are you going to substitute manufacturing in Puerto Rico, 
with what? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. By promoting Puerto Rico, by having con- 
fidence in what we have, by saying, first of all, that the Puerto 
Rican worker is more productive than the mainland worker. That 
is not something that we have said. It is something that has been 
said by the U.S. Manufacturers Association. 

Their average salary, average wage in manufacturing, is less 
than half of the average wage in manufacturing in the mainland. 
We have instant or durable communication with the mainland, we 
have viable and very good transportation facilities, and ocean 
transportation is cheaper than land transportation. We have the 
Federal courts in Puerto Rico which guarantee the stability of 
Puerto Rico and give confidence to the companies that establish in 
Puerto Rico, and we have, beyond that, the workers in Puerto Rico 
staying longer at their jobs and they have also less absenteeism. 

Those are substantial attractions. And we have, when the special 
taxes are eliminated, Puerto Rico will cease being a foreign invest- 
ment area, which we are now, and when they are applying their 
investments domestically, we would become a domestic area and 
we would be on the table whenever the companies here are figuring 
out the domestic investments for the years to come, and there will 
be much more investment in Puerto Rico. 

We have a strategy. We have not used it. What we are doing is 
stimulating people to come and make more money, and the incen- 



105 

tive is geared to having them make more money not to provide jobs 
and invest in Puerto Rico, and that is what the General Accounting 
Office reports here. This is a body here in Congress, which the Con- 
gress relies on because they are technicians. They are people who 
are not involved in politics. They are people who go out and study 
the facts and come out with their results and their recommenda- 
tions, and this has been, it has been distributed now to the mem- 
bers of the Finance Committee. 

The report came out about a month ago, but it had a blackout 
because the Chairman of the committee decided not to distribute 
it until after the 30 days, but now it is made public. But it is an 
indictment of this strategy for development in Puerto Rico. 

Let us have more faith in ourselves. Let us believe that we are 
competitive and not say that we are not. Let us not belittle our- 
selves and say we have to give everything away so that anybody 
can come and invest in Puerto Rico. That is demeaning and that 
sells us short in the Nation and everywhere. I think it is about 
time we stopped trying to sell ourselves short worldwide and in the 
Nation. 

There are a lot of things going for us in Puerto Rico. There are 
a lot of things that attract investors in Puerto Rico and we should 
go out and mention those and not just merely tax exemption. That 
is our investment strategy. 

Mr. Arraras. If anything has been done in Puerto Rico, I believe 
that the Popular Democratic Party, insofar as economic develop- 
ment is concerned with the Operation Bootstrap and all the efforts 
started by Governor Luis Munoz Marin to date, have been evidence 
of the confidence of our party and the people of Puerto Rico and 
all the advantages that we have to sell to other countries. 

But what I maintain is that 936 is a very important weapon for 
economic development for Puerto Rico. The problem is that you see 
it as an obstacle to statehood, and I can understand that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Did you hear Senator Moynihan say the 
other day that 936 is on the way out? He is not talking about state- 
hood. They are on their way out. 

Mr. Arraras. In that regard, I know, Governor Rossello is doing 
his best, although belatedly, to maintain 936 and has a very strong 
effort and he has to work against the people, very powerful, like 
you, who are enemies of 936. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I appreciate your saying I am very power- 
ful. I didn't know that because I don't even have a vote here. But 
I work hard. That, I do. 

Mr. Arraras. You are the official representative, the Resident 
Commissioner, of the people of Puerto Rico, as you know, in Wash- 
ington. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And I work hard. 

Mr. Arraras. I know that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And I explain that because we are not 
dealing with fools or with people who are ignorant, we are dealing 
with knowledgeable people. If I convince somebody it is because I 
bring the facts and the arguments, otherwise I wouldn't convince 
them here in Congress or the Senate. 

The reason I have been able to convince many people is because 
I bring them the facts. There is not a single case, not a single case, 



106 

in Puerto Rico, that shows that any one given company, any one 
company, would leave Puerto Rico with the changes that are being 
submitted to 936. All the companies would receive benefits. 

The vast majority of the companies are going to get more tax 
credits on wages than they would have to pay taxes. The majority 
of them. And the ones that will have to pay the most will still get 
about a 20 or 25 percent tax exemption. Quite a bit of an exemp- 
tion. To say they are leaving, they said the same to me when I was 
Governor and I imposed a tax on them for the first time. They said, 
Governor, with these taxes we have to leave; we did not calculate 
this. And they didn't leave. They stayed. 

As a matter of fact, the growth of the electronics industry in 
Puerto Rico was greatest when I was Governor and after the tax 
was imposed on them. And the pharmaceuticals grew quite a bit 
too after a tax was imposed on them. 

Mr. Arraras. I think you are mistaken, but I understand your 
position. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You think it is better to give grants and 
benefits to wealthy corporations than give benefits to people, poor 
people that need it? 

Mr. Arraras. That is not the 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. That is a question. What do you think 
about that? You think it is better to give benefits to people that 
need it or give grants to 

Mr. Arraras. I don't think that question is a question that I can 
answer, because it doesn't make, it doesn't have any logical con- 
sequence. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Well, I do. I think it is much better and 
it is fairer, more just, more social justice involved when you give 
grants to people that need it, to make a life at least acceptable 

Mr. Arraras. Do I understand that you are proposing that the 
jobs created by 936 be exchanged for Federal benefits? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not the jobs, the benefits given to the 
companies directly; the grants be exchanged for benefits to the peo- 
ple that need it. 

We are U.S. citizens and the poor in Puerto Rico do not get the 
same benefits as they do in the Nation, and the cost of living is the 
same. Now, in the Medicaid, you know that very well. We get $79 
million and the poor people that cannot afford health insurance 
who do not have a job, whose employer provide for health insur- 
ance, they have to go, they can only go to the public hospital facili- 
ties. And with the $590 million that we invest, because the $79 
million the U.S. Government gives Puerto Rico is not enough 

Mr. Arraras. And you are fighting for that within the common- 
wealth status because under the commonwealth you can get that 
through. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But they have never gotten it. For the 
first time they are paying taxes from Puerto Rico, the companies, 
and that is giving me something to stand on. That has given me 
the dignity to argue. 

Because how can I come here and argue and ask for more bene- 
fits, for more money, give me more money, we need more money, 
and then they turn around and say, well, what about those compa- 
nies in Puerto Rico that are getting these exemptions, billions of 



107 

dollars, and they don't pay taxes? Our constituents have to pay 
taxes but yours are not paying. 

Now, how can I have pride and do it with my head up high and 
ask for the grants when we do not pay? When we contribute, when 
we are on the same footing, we meet our obligations, then we have 
the right to demand, but to ask and ask and ask and never be will- 
ing to contribute, we look like beggars. We are demeaning our- 
selves. 

Mr. Arraras. The problem is that we — I believe that you have 
very strong opinions regarding your concept of statehood for the 
poor. Our problem is that we want to do and get as many benefits 
as we can but we are very interested in developing our economy be- 
cause we don't want to become a welfare state. We want to 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We are one under the commonwealth. 

Mr. Arraras. We want to produce jobs, to give people the oppor- 
tunity to develop themselves. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And that is exactly what we want. 

Mr. Arraras. We have the same goal but different roads. Your 
road is more Federal benefits. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. With jobs. 

Mr. Arraras. There is a contradiction; that you have to look at 
the economic aspects of this. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Perhaps I would refer you to the GAO 
study again where it indicated that most of the money that is made 
by the companies leaves Puerto Rico, okay? 

Now, with additional benefits, let us take for instance Medicaid. 
There will be an additional billion dollars a year in the economy 
in Puerto Rico. What would that $1 billion do? It will certainly cre- 
ate jobs and certainly create opportunities. That money is money 
that is spent in Puerto Rico and that heightens the demand for 
goods and services substantially, and any economist can explain 
that to you very well. 

And it would be more meaningful to Puerto Rico in terms of jobs 
than the 936 because we can have the investments of the compa- 
nies and then more solid investments if we don't give away our 
house, if we bring companies in because of what we have to offer, 
because of our manpower, our capability, because of our geographi- 
cal strategical location. Because we are in the only place right now 
within the United States where both languages are official and, 
naturally, the Center for Interchange with Latin America, geo- 
graphically, culturally and as a State we will be even more so. That 
is a strategy for development; depending on our people, and not by 
giving money away to the ones that make the most money. 

We are prejudicing our people, the ones that do need it. Because 
every time we ask for more money in the Federal program, let us 
treat our people the same as you do the U.S. citizens, we hear, you 
are getting enough money as it is. You don't pay taxes. How can 
we have respect for ourselves if we come here asking all the time 
and we are never willing to contribute? 

Do you think it is a good position to be in where we don't contrib- 
ute but we are asking for more? 

Mr. Arraras. What I understand is that section 936, which 
doesn't have anything to do with the resolution that we are 
discussing 



108 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It does. 

Mr. ARRARAS. It is very, very important for Puerto Rico. It is a 
tool for economic development, and it is something that we should 
not surrender nor trade for Federal benefits. 

Mr. de Lugo. At that point I think 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Nor for Federal votes or participation in 
Congress? 

Mr. DE Lugo. This battle will continue between now 

Mr. Arraras. We have a whole period of four months to debate. 

Mr. DE Lugo. That is right and it will continue on the soil of 
Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Mr. Chairman, one last question. Don't 
you feel you are selling away your political rights when you say 
936 is more important than political rights? 

Mr. Arraras. No, certainly not. What we want to have is a good 
economy and jobs for our people. 

Mr. DE Lugo. At that point, let me ask the gentleman from 
Guam if he has any questions. 

Mr. Underwood. No, thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, I want to thank 
the Minority Leader, Representative Arraras, very much for your 
presentation here. We have been working here in this Committee 
for over four hours, almost four and a half hours. We have another 
outstanding witness who we will be hearing from, but we are going 
to take a break right now. It will be a one-half hour break to get 
lunch. The gavel will come down in exactly 30 minutes. 

Our next witness will also be a resident, the Honorable Antonio 
J. Colorado, former Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico. Tito, 
good to see you, and we look forward to hearing from you. He, of 
course, is one who has contributed tremendously to building the 
economy of Puerto Rico. 

And then we have three outstanding panels that will appear. We 
have Senator McClintock and the Honorable Marco A. Rigau; they 
will be appearing in the first panel; then there will be a second 
panel, Dr. Miriam J. Ramirez Ferrer, President of the Puerto 
Ricans in Civic Action; Carlos Gallisa, Secretary General of Puerto 
Rican Socialist Party; Benny Frankie Cerezo, President of the 
Puerto Rican Statehood Forum; and Arturo J. Guzman, Co-chair- 
man, IDEA of Puerto Rico. 

And the final panel will be the Honorable Angel Luis Ortiz, 
member of the Philadelphia City Council; Wilfredo Santiago 
Valiente, President, United Statehooders Organization of New 
York; Luis Alvarez of Sparta, New Jersey; and Jose Garriga-Pico, 
Associate Professor of the University of Puerto Rico. 

So we will take a break and the gavel will come down exactly at 
3:00 o'clock. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The Committee on Insular and International Af- 
fairs, the hearing on the Serrano Resolution, H.Con.Res. 94, will 
come to order and continue. When we broke 30 minutes ago, I an- 
nounced that our next witness would be a distinguished represent- 
ative of the people of Puerto Rico, former Resident Commissioner, 
one that I had had the great pleasure of serving with here in this 
House and on this Committee, and it is a pleasure to welcome him 
back to this chamber where he has served with such distinction. 



109 

He is one that has contributed tremendously to the economic vi- 
tality of Puerto Rico, so it is a pleasure for the Chair to welcome 
Antonio J. Colorado, better known to all his friends as Tito. 

STATEMENT OF HON. ANTONIO J. COLORADO, FORMER 
RESIDENT COMMISSIONER FROM PUERTO RICO 

Mr. Colorado. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair- 
man. It is a pleasure to be here again. 

I am Antonio Colorado, former Resident Commissioner of Puerto 
Rico to the United States and a former member of this Committee. 
I appear before you on my own behalf, not on behalf or in represen- 
tation of any other person, organization or entity, to express my 
opinion on House Concurrent Resolution 94, a sense of the Con- 
gress resolution on self-determination by the people of Puerto Rico. 
Everybody is in favor of self-determination, Presidents (including 
Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton), majors, Governors, Congressmen, 
Democrats, Republicans and their political platforms. In my judg- 
ment, the question is not if you are, as everyone else is, in favor 
of "self-determination," the question is: "What does the Congress of 
the United States understand by self-determination by the people 
of Puerto Rico?" 

The answer to this question is the crux of the most important 
issue in the life of a people, my people, who although very proud 
of their American citizenship, are nevertheless a distinct people, 
the people of Puerto Rico, and also very proud of being so. 

We negotiated and entered into a compact in 1950 with the Gov- 
ernment of the United States to establish the respective areas of 
authority for both the Federal Government and the government to 
be created by the people of Puerto Rico under the Constitution of 
its own adoption. Under that compact, Law 600 of 1950, the legit- 
imacy of all authority was established to be "the consent of the gov- 
erned." This to us meant sovereign consent. 

By this understanding we, as a people, acted upon and accepted 
the compact by popular referendum, and appeared with the U.S. 
Delegation at the 1953 session of the United Nations to bear wit- 
ness that the United States had fulfilled an international obliga- 
tion: That the governmental authority in Puerto Rico was the will 
of the people, freely expressed, and that finally, that the terms of 
such arrangement were embodied in a compact. 

As to this, the alternate U.S. Ambassador, Mr. Mason Sears de- 
clared: "As you know, a compact is more binding than a treaty; it 
cannot be altered except by bilateral agreement." 

On those assurances and testimony, including a direct statement 
from the President of the United States to the General Assembly, 
the United Nations adopted Res. 748 (VIII) of 27 November 1953. 
Since then, however, this Congress has paid only, at best, lip 
service to that commitment. And increasingly, the judicial branch 
of the government has expressed serious doubts about the mere ex- 
istence of such compact. Congress talks about self-determination 
but refuses to act when requested to by Puerto Rico. 

At least six times Puerto Rico has come to Congress for amend- 
ments to the compact and has returned not only empty-handed, but 
with serious disappointment as to congressional and U.S. Govern- 



110 

ment commitment to honor its word. Why should we believe today 
that our next request would be treated differently. 

This cannot go on. You must express clearly what you under- 
stand by: One, self-determination; two, people of Puerto Rico; three, 
nature or origin of congressional authority to legislate for Puerto 
Rico; four, the so-called "Jibaro statehood," or "Hispanic statehood" 
being offered by the statehood party. 

Let me say this very clearly, Mr. Chairman. I believe we have 
had a compact with the U.S. Since 1950; it is not perfect but it is 
a compact. I believe so because the authorized representative of the 
United States have said so, I believe your authority over Puerto 
Rico is legitimate only because we consented to it under the terms 
of the compact, and thus are not subject to you under the terri- 
torial clause of the Constitution. 

To me this is clear, since we are a people, the people of Puerto 
Rico; we are not either a "territory" nor "property" of the United 
States. But if Congress thinks that we are either one of them or 
both, please say so, it is very important for us to know where we 
stand. 

The present administration in Puerto Rico has legislated a status 
referendum for November 14 of this year. This was approved uni- 
laterally without consensus of the political parties in Puerto Rico. 
Only residents of the island would be entitled to vote, excluding 
Puerto Ricans living in the mainland. 

The statehood party is offering our people a statehood with two 
official languages, two equal flags, preservation of our identity and 
culture, and preservation of international representation in sports 
and cultural events. This means that the official languages in our 
courts, in our legislature, in our schools and in the rest of our gov- 
ernment agencies would be both English and Spanish, but as the 
language spoken by all Puerto Ricans is Spanish, this would be in 
practice the language utilized by everyone in such places. 

It also means that we would continue to participate with our 
Olympic representation in all sports and therefore continue to com- 
pete against the official United States Olympic Teams. They also 
tell our people that we will be able to continue to compete as Puer- 
to Rico in pageants like Miss Universe, which we recently won, and 
we have won twice before. 

Is there such statehood? Mr. Chairman, what is the answer of 
the Congress to these questions? The people of Puerto Rico have a 
most sacred right to know what they are voting for. Where does the 
Congress of the United States stand? 

Mr. Chairman and Members, thank you very much. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank the gentleman. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Colorado follows:] 



Ill 



TESTIMONY OF 

ANTONIO J. COLORADO 

PRESENTED BEFORE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES 

Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs 
Hearing on H. Con. Res. 94 



July 13, 1993 



Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. 
I am Antonio J. Colorado, former Resident Commissioner of 
Puerto Rico to the United States and a former Member of this 
Committee. I appear before you on my own behalf, not on 
behalf of or in representation of any other person, 
organization or entity, to express my opinion on House 
Concurrent Resolution 94, a Sense of the Congress Resolution 
on self determination bv the people of Puerto Rico. 

Everybody is in favor of self-determination, Presidents 
(including Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton), Majors, Governors, 
Congressmen, Democrats, Republicans and their political 
platforms. In my judgment, the question is not if you are, 
as everyone else is, in favor of "self-determination", the 
question is: 

What does the Congress of the United States 

understands by "self-determination by the 

people of Puerto Rico"? 

The answer to this question is the crux of the most 



112 



important issue in the life of a people, my people, who 
although very proud of their American citizenship are 
nevertheless, a distinct people, the people of Puerto Rico, 
and also very proud of being so. 

We negotiated and entered into a Compact in 1950 with 
the government of the United States to establish the 
respective areas of authority for both the federal government 
and the government to be created by the people of Puerto Rico 
under the Constitution of its own adoption. Under that 
Compact, Law 600 of 1950, the legitimacy of all authority was 
established to be "the consent of the governed". This to us 
meant sovereign consent. 

By this understanding we, as a people, acted upon and 
accepted the Compact by popular referendum, and appeared with 
the U.S. delegation at the 1953 session of the United Nations 
to bear witness that the United States had fulfilled an 
international obligation: that the governmental authority in 
Puerto Rico was the will of the people, freely expressed, and 
finally, that the terms of such arrangement were embodied in 
a compact. 

As to this, the alternate U. S. Ambassador, Mr. Mason 
Sears declared: 

"As you know, a compact is more binding than a 

treaty; it cannot be altered except by bilateral 

agreement" . 

On those assurances and testimony including a direct 
statement from the President of the United States to the 



113 



General Assembly, the U.N. adopted Res. 748 (VIII) of 27 
November 1953. 

Since then, however, this Congress has paid only, at 
best, lip service to that commitment. And increasingly, the 
judicial branch of the government has expressed serious 
doubts about the mere existence of such compact. Congress 
talks about self-determination but refuses to act when 
requested to by Puerto Rico. 

At least six times P.R. has come to Congress for 
amendments to the Compact and has returned not only empty 
handed, but with serious disappointment as to Congressional 
and U.S. government commitment to honor its word. 

This cannot go on. You must express clearly what you 
understand by: 

1) self-determination, 

2) people of Puerto Rico, 

3) nature or origin of Congressional authority to 
legislate for Puerto Rico, 

4) so-called "Jibaro statehood", or "Hispanic 
statehood" being offered by the Statehood party. 

Let me say this very clearly, Mr. Chairman. I believe 
we have had a Compact with the U.S. since 1950; I believe so 
because the authorized representatives of the United States 
have said so, I believe your authority over Puerto Rico is 
legitimate only because we consented to it under the terms of 
the Compact, and thus are not subject to you under the 
territorial clause of the Constitution. 



114 



To me this is clear, since we are a people, the People 
of Puerto Rico; we are not either "territory" nor "property" 
of the United States. But if you think we are either one of 
them or both, please say so, it is very important for us to 
know where we stand. 

The present administration in Puerto Rico has legislated 
a status referendum for November 14 of this year. This was 
approved unilaterally without consensus of the political 
parties in. Puerto Rico. Only residents of the Island would 
be entitled to vote, excluding Puerto Ricans living in the 
mainland. 

The statehood party is offering our people, a statehood 
with two official languages, two equal flags, preservation of 
our identity and culture, and preservation of international 
representation in sports and cultural events. This means 
that the official languages in our courts, in our 
legislature, in our schools and in the rest of our government 
agencies would be both English and Spanish, but as the 
language spoken by all Puerto Ricans is Spanish, this would 
be in practice the language utilized by every one in such 
places. It also means that we would continue to participate 
with our Olympic representation in all sports and therefore 
continue to compete against the official United States 
Olympic Teams. They also tell our people that we will be 
able to continue to compete as Puerto Rico in pageants like 
Miss Universe, which we recently won, as we have won twice 
before. 



115 



-Is there such statehood? 

Mr. Chairman, what is the answer of the Congress to this 
question? 

The people of Puerto Rico have a most sacred right to 
know I 

Mr. Chairman and Members, thank you very much. 



116 

Mr. de Lugo. I want to make sure I understand you. Do you be- 
lieve that H. Con. Res. 94 is inadequate because it does not answer 
the questions that you have raised? 

Mr. Colorado. I don't think it will add anything the way it is. 
We are for free determination. I doubt very much there is anyone 
in Congress that is not for free determination. I think — for self-de- 
termination, I mean. I see no reason why anybody should be 
against that. It is like talking about motherhood or apple pie. It is 
a reality. 

I doubt very much that the Congress, if it acts on this measure, 
that it would act against it. But the problem is that Puerto Rico, 
as a people, as has been mentioned here before, has three alter- 
natives. One of them is independence for which I see no problem, 
in the sense that if the people of Puerto Rico would vote for it, for 
which I see a problem, then the Congress of the United States 
would be forced to grant independence to Puerto Rico. But the 
other two depend upon negotiation. 

Now, if we had never come to the United States Congress to ask 
for something, I would say, well, probably, Mr. Romero is right and 
we should decide what we want and then come up here and say 
this is what we want. But we have done that already and it didn't 
work. So I can't see how we can now do it again, come back to Con- 
gress, I don't think anything is going to happen. 

Now, all parties worked together in trying to get a bill approved 
two or three years ago. Again, nothing happened. As you know, it 
was approved because of your efforts mainly here in the House but 
nothing was approved in the Senate. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Well, I would say to the gentleman that in 1990 
something very profound did occur in the House and that was that 
the House unanimously agreed on a process and committed to re- 
spond to the actions of the people of Puerto Rico. The House com- 
mitted to respond, but, as in many of these things, people some- 
times have a different opinion as to what will be most successful. 
There were those that said the Senate wanted to define what the 
political statuses were ahead of time and have the Congress com- 
mit itself to accept whatever political status came out of the plebi- 
scite. Meaning Congress would not have any further action, just to 
approve it, and this, of course, the Congress was unwilling to do. 

I still feel that it was unfortunate that we did not, on the Senate 
side, go along with the House approach. 

Mr. Colorado. I agree with you. 

Mr. DE LUGO. I will say that my friend here who is on the Com- 
mittee with me, former Governor of Puerto Rico, he pushed for the 
Senate to accept the House proposal, even over the objections of 
some of his own political party. I think that that was a tremendous 
opportunity that was lost. 

Mr. Colorado. I believe, Mr. Chairman, and I didn't come here 
to debate about one status against the other, what I came here for 
is to ask Congress to tell Puerto Rico in those areas where we have 
to negotiate where do we stand; what really would be acceptable 
and why do I say this? It is because of the experience that we have 
had. 

As I said before, I wouldn't say it if it were not because of that, 
but you approved the bill in the House and nothing was approved 



117 

in the Senate. I think the Senate did a lot of work, which is very 
positive. It is there. It describes basically what many of the people 
in the Senate would be willing to accept as to commonwealth, as 
to the independence, change from commonwealth to independence, 
and for statehood. And something like that, maybe not as articu- 
lated, the people of Puerto Rico should have. 

I think nobody can be against not knowing. I think people want 
to know, and if we are going to negotiate and if we are really going 
to have sort of a plebiscite that will be effective it has to be on the 
basis of knowing what the Congress will accept or else people will 
not be voting on something, really, that is real. 

Mr. de Lugo. The Chair will just say it was unfortunate that in 
the case of 1990 and 1991, when — you know, I must tell you, Tito, 
I was so impressed when the leaders of the three political parties 
came to Washington, it was a patriotic effort such as I have not 
witnessed ever before. 

Mr. Colorado. And I wish we could have that again, soon, be- 
cause that is very important to Puerto Rico. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The problem is that we all have our opinions and 
in a political situation, a partisan political situation particularly, 
you only have certain windows of opportunities where statesmen 
can come forward from different political groups and work together 
for the greater good of their country and their people. But, as you 
get closer to the election, all of these other pressures are on you 
and your followers are demanding you become more partisan and 
if you do not seize the window of opportunity which we had in 
1990, then it is lost. That was very unfortunate. 

Let me recognize the gentleman from Puerto Rico for any ques- 
tions he may have. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Mr. Colorado, good afternoon, welcome. 

In your testimony, Mr. Colorado, you said that the present law, 
which authorizes the celebration of a plebiscite in Puerto Rico, was 
done without the consent and the consensus of the political parties 
in Puerto Rico. In 1967, when your party was in office and the 
plebiscite was held, was a consensus of the other political parties 
obtained on that occasion? 

Mr. Colorado. I didn't speak in any — I didn't have the occasion 
to speak at that time. Obviously, I was not involved as much in 
politics or I was not representing Puerto Rico in any way, shape 
or form at that time, and I didn't have much to say. But I think 
that whatever happened in 1967 should help us to find out what 
we should do now. 

And I would take it as unacceptable, obviously, having the ref- 
erendum that didn't go anywhere later on, for many reasons, many 
of them depending on the party that won in Puerto Rico and the 
party that won in the mainland. But if anybody made something 
wrong at that time, it doesn't mean we should make it wrong 
again, even if it were my party. I think it should be by consensus, 
as it was when we were discussing the possibility of the legislation 
in the Congress. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. My question is simple. Was there consen- 
sus of the parties? 

Mr. Colorado. My answer is clear, I don't care because it 
doesn't matter. 



118 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Was there or was there not? Don't you 
know? 

Mr. Colorado. I don't care. There was not, but I am telling you 
it doesn't matter to me if there was or not. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Don't get so upset. That is all I wanted 
to know. 

Mr. Colorado. I am not upset. I don't want to enter a debate 
here with you. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I want to go further, however. 

The other two parties, did they participate in the plebiscite or 
boycott it? 

Mr. Colorado. One of them boycotted. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Both of them did. 

Mr. Colorado. Oh, both of them. Should we boycott now? 
Maybe. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You are not boycotting? 

Mr. Colorado. No, I am not. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So there is something fairer about this 
than there was at that time? 

Mr. Colorado. No, no, no, no, no. You can use the words to try 
to show that there is something beautiful about this one, because 
we are going to go — we are going to go because we believe we have 
the majority of the people in Puerto Rico and we think we have to 
go at this time. 

You will have your position. Your party forced a referendum. We 
are going to have it, good or bad, and we are going to go and we 
will win. That is no problem. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So whenever you legislate without the 
consensus of the opposition, even though you have a majority or 
two-thirds, then you are forcing the others? 

Mr. Colorado. You may be sure, there is no doubt about it. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So there is something wrong with that 
legislation, then? 

Mr. Colorado. There is a lot of things wrong with the legisla- 
tion. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Because it does not have the consensus of 
the other parties? 

Mr. Colorado. Not only the consensus but other things which 
are wrong. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So you have the majority of the legisla- 
ture, right? You can pass a law; right? 

Mr. Colorado. If you have a majority, you can pass without a 
consensus, there is no doubt. It has been done before. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. At least you are participating and so are 
the parties. Last time, there were two of them boycotting. 
Mr. Colorado. Right. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You also said you came for amendments 
to the compact and you came back to Puerto Rico empty-handed. 
Did you ever come for amendments to the compact with a decision 
of the people of Puerto Rico as to what should be amended or did 
you come looking for amendments without having first consulted 
the people of Puerto Rico? 

Mr. Colorado. I would say that in most of the cases the referen- 
dum that we had and the commissions or committees that were 



119 

created as such were not affected and didn't really come with some- 
thing that had been approved by the people of Puerto Rico. 

Mr. ROMERO-BARCELO. So that would be the reason why you 
came back empty-handed, wouldn't it? 

Mr. Colorado. No, because there were many things that could 
have been done and could have been approved by Puerto Rico later 
on. I will not go into the details of each one, but I do not — I think 
you are going to see that we will come empty-handed again on this 
one. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We will find out. 

Mr. Colorado. If we continue to find out, there is so many 
years, we will not be doing much for Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We will find out. If we do come back full- 
handed, we will be doing a lot for Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Colorado. I doubt you will because we will win, but no 
problem. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We will see about that. 

Mr. Colorado. We will see on the 14th. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Not much time left, though. 

You say in your statement here that we are not a territory nor 
a property. Of course not, we are citizens. It is the island of Puerto 
Rico that is the territory, not the people. The people are citizens. 

The problem is that we are citizens without a right to vote and 
without a right to participate in the Nation that we are citizens of. 
That is a real problem, is it not? 

Mr. Colorado. I believe that 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. If we were not citizens of the United 
States, there would be no problem here, would it? 

Mr. Colorado. I believe part of the growth of the commonwealth 
status should be more participation, through whatever means. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What are those means, other than the 
constitutional means? What are those means? 

Mr. Colorado. Whatever means. I am not going to tell you now, 
but there are a number of ways in which Puerto Rico can partici- 
pate. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Which ways? 

Mr. Colorado. Some were discussed during the legislation that 
was established at the Senate, which included the possibility of 
Puerto Rico having something to say in relation to the legislation 
that affected Puerto Rico. That is one way. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. That is constitutionally valid? 

Mr. Colorado. That is not for me to decide. I am not a Constitu- 
tional expert. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. If you ask for something not constitu- 
tional, you will not get it, so why waste your time? You will add 
an amendment to the Constitution? 

Mr. Colorado. If we have to, we will do it. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. That is a very lengthy process, isn't it? 
Mr. Colorado. I think we have to fix what is good for Puerto 
Rico and for the United States in whichever way is good for both. 
And if there are limitations in the Constitution, then let us work 
on that. If there are limitations in the legislation, let's change it. 
But I am not going to be placed in a straitjacket just because some- 
body wants to place me in a straitjacket. 



120 

The reality of Puerto Rico is different from that of other States 
or other territories that became States, and I am going to continue 
to fight for that, try to get whatever is best for Puerto Rico, what- 
ever I think is best for Puerto Rico. I can be right or wrong. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You say Puerto Rico is different. Alaska 
is different from Hawaii, is it not? Alaska and Hawaii are quite dif- 
ferent. 

Mr. COLORADO. Oh, sure, quite different. They are paying Fed- 
eral taxes. Very different. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Texas and the mainland are very dif- 
ferent. 

Mr. Colorado. Right. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So the differences does not mean you can- 
not live together or you cannot be partners. 

Mr. Colorado. No, we have been living together as partners. 
There is no problem. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. As partners? We have? I didn't know that 
we are partners in the Nation. 

Mr. Colorado. I think we are partners. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What voice do we have in the affairs of 
the Nation and our affairs? Please let me know because I am in 
Congress and I don't have a right to vote. 

Mr. Colorado. I have been listening to you for about six hours, 
so you have a lot of voice here. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. A voice, sure. There is freedom of speech, 
no doubt about it. We have a voice. Yes, we have, but we don't vote. 

Mr. Colorado. Then you have a voice. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You were here. How many months were 
you here? 

Mr. Colorado. I don't know. It was nine months, more or less. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You didn't vote a single time. 

Mr. Colorado. I voted. In the Committee, I voted. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But not on the Floor. 

Mr. Colorado. No. The expense, the cost to Puerto Rico of me 
being capable of voting here, under the present circumstances, 
would be, for me, too high to pay. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You think there is a political price? 

Mr. Colorado. Oh, yes, there is a price. There is a big price in 
Puerto Rico. It means unemployment, not only in the manufactur- 
ing sector but also in the government of Puerto Rico, where we 
would lose $2 billion, and I would like to know where you are going 
to get it from. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You say political rights have a price? 

Mr. Colorado. They have a price. I think everybody is in agree- 
ment with that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You are willing to give up your right to 
vote for economic benefits, is that it? 

Mr. Colorado. No, no. For the benefit of the people of Puerto 
Rico, so the people of Puerto Rico can live better. If at this time 
I cannot have some political rights, I will not have them. If I have 
to fight for the political rights at the same time my people can live 
well, I will do it. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. That is what we have to do. 

Mr. Colorado. But not under statehood. 



121 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Why don't you want to go to independ- 
ence? You can do that. 

Mr. Colorado. No, I do not believe in independence. I do not 
think statehood is the best for Puerto Rico. I believe in the com- 
monwealth and I will work for that. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But you think it belittles us as people to 
say 

Mr. Colorado. I don't have that problem, Mr. Barcelo. I don't 

have it. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You don't have a problem? 

Mr. Colorado. No. I have fiscal autonomy no State has, which 
gives me the power of getting the money that my people pay in 
taxes, and that is something that no State has, and I can use that 
for the benefit of the Puerto Ricans and that I agree on. It is too 
important for me to give up. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And also to give benefits to the wealthier 
so the poor are not entitled to receive those benefits. That is also 
what you believe in? 

Mr. Colorado. Governor Luis Munoz Marin once said if he had 
to make a few SOBs rich to make sure that the people in Puerto 
Rico would live better, he would do it. Now 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. If he said that 

Mr. Colorado. What I am saying is to attract industry. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You think it was right when he said that? 
Do you think it was right? 

Mr. Colorado. I think it was right to a certain extent. I think 
it was right because if no 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Interesting to hear your philosophy. 

Mr. Colorado. Sure. Because if not, they will go somewhere else 
and they will make money somewhere else. So we need to employ 
our people and we have done that and we have done that fairly ef- 
fectively. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. And the only way we can employ our peo- 
ple is to give excessive benefits. 

Mr. Colorado. Not excessive. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What do you call it when a company 
makes $120,000 in tax savings per job created, and they only pay 
$25,000? 

Mr. Colorado. Those figures are from GAO which obviously only 
accounts for the direct jobs and the direct benefits to Puerto Rico. 
They do not include the multiplier effect in the economy of all the 
benefits of having this company. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Have you read the new GAO report? 

Mr. Colorado. To me it is not worth the paper it is written on. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You are not prejudiced now? 

Mr. Colorado. No, I am not prejudiced. I read the prior ones, 
and I read this one. It says that the professionals in Puerto Rico — 
we have so many professionals working in the six companies that 
if the six companies leave Puerto Rico they will find jobs some- 
where else. If anybody believes that, he doesn't know what he is 
talking about. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The problem is that the companies receiv- 
ing the benefits of 936 are not going to leave because they don't 
have to pay taxes. 



122 

Mr. Colorado. In the Commonwealth we have the benefit that 
we can charge them more or less. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You no longer will have the benefit be- 
cause it is going to be reduced. 

Mr. Colorado. Then they cannot use 936 and then they will 
have to pay taxes to Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. You will not have it now because they are 
going to be reduced at the most to 40 percent. 

Mr. Colorado. With your help. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Yes, because 1 think it is unfair to the 
people of Puerto Rico that the wealthiest corporations in Puerto 
Rico receive all these tax benefits, and because they don't pay taxes 
the poor are deprived of equal benefits that are received by their 
fellow citizens in the United States. 

Mr. Colorado. You are willing to accept that. They pay the 
taxes to the mainland when the income source is Puerto Rico. In- 
stead of asking for a credit so Puerto Rico can prosper and get the 
benefits. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Yes, I am, because the benefits will be re- 
turned directly to the people, and the benefits are given directly to 
the poor people. 

Mr. COLORADO. That we have not seen yet. You were not able to 
get the $25 million that was promised to me some years ago. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Yes, it was given in the House, but the 
Senate did not go along. That is correct. 

Mr. Colorado. Let me say something. If in anything that you 
can count on me, it is that I will help Puerto Rico get as much as 
we can. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The only problem with your position is 
that you are asking for more, and you do not want to contribute. 
That is the problem. When you want equality, equality means 
equality of rights, equality of obligations. You have to assume the 
obligations in order to ask for the rights and ask for the benefits. 
Otherwise, you are in a very untenable position. 

I think it is very demeaning to the people of Puerto Rico. I think 
it is shameful that we are asking and asking and never are willing 
to contribute and participate in the responsibilities. That is the 
only thing that people who are fair to themselves and fair to others 
can do. 

Mr. Colorado. What is demeaning and shameful is for someone 
to say to the people of Puerto Rico, you know I am going to give 
you more money so you don't have to work. Instead of creating jobs, 
I am going to give you money. The Federal Government will give 
you more money so you don't have to work. Where is the respon- 
sibility there? 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. How does health care fit in? 

Mr. Colorado. I told you that I would be willing to help on 
health care. I don't think health care is a matter of 936 funding 
or not. I think health care is a right the Puerto Rican people should 
have. I think that, together with all the other areas that may or 
may not get those funds, we should fight for it for the people. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. So, you don't think you should have the 
food stamps either? 



123 

Mr. Colorado. That is not what I said. I said if getting state- 
hood for Puerto Rico is going to cost thousands of jobs in the gov- 
ernment and in the manufacturing area and the multiplier effects, 
that I can still work for those benefits within the Commonwealth 
as you are doing now. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Because we are now for the first time 
going to be paying income taxes. That is what gives you the lever- 
age now and the arguments because you did not get the equal 
treatment, your predecessor did not get it, none of the other Resi- 
dent Commissioners could get the equal treatment. 

Mr. Colorado. We had it the first time, and you lost it. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. No, I did not lose it. I was not in Con- 
gress. 

Mr. Colorado. You were in Puerto Rico as governor. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It was because it is too much. They said 
you do not pay taxes and — like all the other programs that are 
capped in Puerto Rico, because we don't pay taxes. That was the 
argument. 

Mr. Colorado. What I believe is fair for the people of Puerto 
Rico, at the economic level that we are, we should have everything 
that we can get to enhance our economic circumstances. It can 
mean some 936 paying. That is not the issue. It can mean some 
of the people paying or not paying. It really means developing more 
so we can get much closer to the mainland and then maybe we can 
participate in some of these programs by paying part ourselves. 
Maybe we can do that. 

By becoming a State we will not be able to do that. We will not 
reach that goal. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Have you seen a poorer State than Puerto 
Rico? 

Mr. Colorado. That has nothing to do with it. Mississippi is as 
poor as it was relative to all the other States. Hawaii is not richer 
by becoming a State. Alaska is not richer by becoming a State. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Many have become wealthier relative to 
Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Colorado. Hawaii has not. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I am not talking about Mississippi. Mis- 
sissippi has over $13,000 per capita income and Puerto Rico has 
about $6,000, less than half. 

Mr. de Lugo. The time of the gentleman from Puerto Rico has 
expired. 

The gentlemen from Guam. 

Mr. Underwood. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for not 
being here for your statement. I understand from the Chairman 
that you know a great deal about commonwealth, a political status 
in which I have a great deal of interest. 

In your testimony you made reference, as have many of the pre- 
vious people who have appeared before the Committee and indeed 
people have talked incessantly about it, and that is the concept and 
the process of self-determination. This, of course, is of interest to 
all people in territories. 

I would like to hear your ideas as to what you perceive or what 
process do you suggest as a process to reach self-determination and 
do you consider self-determination a one-time event, a process in 



124 

which you engage in at one point in time in which you then subse- 
quently either do not engage in it or you certainly don't engage in 
it in the same way? 

Mr. Colorado. I think it is, obviously, a very difficult question 
which I know neither you nor I have the right answer yet. But we 
have to work with realities. 

The reality is that we in Puerto Rico are a people, much more 
than Hawaii or Alaska were. The Eskimos in Alaska really are not 
in charge. It is really a community that was fairly integrated into 
the American community. 

I would say it is much more homogenous, and it was much more 
homogenous at the time they became a State. They were incor- 
porated territories which meant they were paying taxes. They have 
had no 936, no fiscal autonomy. 

Now they did not have a strong culture. They did not have that 
strong culture as we in Puerto Rico do have and as I feel that — 
many times I say we are a people within a people. 

We have the people of Puerto Rico within the United States. 
Then that creates a problem because your identity that obviously 
is part of you, that can change, but it takes hundreds and hun- 
dreds and hundreds of years for it to change when you have such 
an amount of people in one island. So it is very difficult. 

So then what do you transfer? I heard our friend, Congressman 
Serrano — or, no, I think it was Congressman Gutierrez — about the 
transfer of the sovereign rights. I mean how do you do that? Do you 
take away food stamps? Do you take away the benefits of the rela- 
tionship for them to be capable of making the right decision? 

I am sure that some of the ones that will speak later have much 
more to say about this than I do, but I see that as something that 
is very difficult. 

Then, again, you say when you become a State — we have a lot 
of people in Hawaii now. They tell me the last time they celebrated 
their Queen's Day or something like that, they lowered the Amer- 
ican flag, the governor who is supposedly not so much for statehood 
anymore. 

Puerto Rico has a much stronger culture. We are most clearly a 
nation if you want to call it a nation, a people if you want to call 
it a people. You know, the name does not really make the thing, 
but the thing is something special. It is something different, obvi- 
ously. 

If we became a State by 55 or 60 percent — I doubt that that 
would happen. But if we did, what happens if 10 years from now 
we say, you know, it doesn't make any sense for us? I don't have 
the answer. 

The only way I can see it is to make it as clear as possible for 
Puerto Ricans to know what they are getting into, and that re- 
quires much more than what we who are for commonwealth can 
tell them about commonwealth. It requires much more than what 
the statehood people can tell them about statehood or about what 
statehood the United States would accept or about the common- 
wealth or the improvement in commonwealth that the United 
States is willing to accept. 

It is very difficult. I think the steps we took two or three years 
ago are fantastic, especially the House approved something that 



125 

was acceptable and palatable, but, on the other hand, the Senate 
approved some descriptions that I think were very good. It is very 
difficult. 

Mr. Underwood. What I am really trying to get at when I asked 
these questions earlier, I am trying to figure out — and I recognize 
that peoples's interests in given political status options obviously 
helps shape the way they think about the political process. 

By the same token, when we talk about self-determination, we 
either assume that we go into this process discussing self-deter- 
mination. It exists for everybody. I mean, it exists for everybody 
who is not fully a part of this country in some fashion. So, there 
are many open questions about that. 

Unless I am misreading you, and I hope I am not, I hope there 
is not a separate kind of self-determination for Puerto Rico as for 
someone else based upon its history. I think that self-determination 
exists as a concept and as a principle that we can apply to all peo- 
ple who are not fully a part of this country. 

Yet, at the same time, I am looking for that process. I keep hear- 
ing that people talk about it in a very general way, and people, 
whenever they discuss self-determination, they automatically start 
discussing the given option. 

But before we get to the option, I am looking for what would con- 
stitute it. If there is no common ground between all the major po- 
litical parties and all the major political status options in terms of 
what constitutes an exercise of self-determination, then I am afraid 
that we are not getting closer to resolving the issue. Is there a 
process that you see in this? 

Mr. Colorado. I think the process, first, has to be that everyone 
respects everyone's formula, whatever it is, and the people decide. 
When we say self-determination, the people are the ones that are 
going to decide. I am saying they should decide on the basis of hav- 
ing the most, closer to the reality as far as the option that they can 
have. We are talking about, for example, one or some of the other 
islands or territories. 

The principle, the concept of self-determination is the same. The 
way it will be applicable is different. It has to be different because 
the options are different. Some countries may not have the option 
of a commonwealth. We do. Why? Because most of the people in 
Puerto Rico for many centuries have wanted to be in a relationship, 
in a special relationship with the motherland, whatever it is, be it 
Spain before and now the United States. 

So now they need an opportunity to be able to determine their 
future on the basis of that alternative. Some other countries may 
not. 

Mr. Underwood. In your description of the commonwealth you 
use the term compact quite often. Of course, we have a new com- 
monwealth in the Northern Mariannas. They have used the term 
covenant. The term compact is more often reserved to a free-asso- 
ciation status. 

Mr. Colorado. That is the word that was used. It was used in 
the nature of a compact. 

Mr. Underwood. The compact implies, does it not, that some 
mutual consent provisions over various dimensions of self govern- 
ment? 



76-006 0-94-5 



126 

Mr. Colorado. That is the way it was described, as an agree- 
ment which was approved by both the Congress of the United 
States and by the people of Puerto Rico that went back and forth 
and was changed and negotiated and finally approved by the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico after being approved by Congress. Both parties 
approved it. 

Mr. Underwood. Can one side unilaterally abrogate that com- 
pact? 

Mr. Colorado. I don't believe so. 

Congress has done it on several occasions. 936 was mentioned be- 
fore. That has nothing to do with the compact. 936 is legislation 
having to do within the Internal Revenue Code, that it is directed 
at the taxes to be paid by U.S. companies, be it in Guam or be it 
in Puerto Rico. If you have it in Guam and we have it in Puerto 
Rico, obviously it has nothing to do with the compact. 

There are many things we have in common that have to do with 
the compact. For example, it has been mentioned that it has to do 
with fiscal autonomy. It doesn't have anything to do with fiscal au- 
tonomy either. Why? The Dominican Republic doesn't have 936. 
Mexico doesn't have it. It is an internal legislation of the United 
States having to do with their corporations doing business in Puer- 
to Rico or any other territories. 

I do believe we have a compact. This is what we were told by the 
Congress and even by President Bush when he was the representa- 
tive in the United Nations. This was what was accepted by the 
United Nations. Now, if it is different now — I don't know why it 
should be — but if it is different now we should know. 

What I am telling Congress is that the people of Puerto Rico 
have a right to know if what you said was so, is not anymore. If 
we cannot trust your word, the word you gave so many years ago, 
let us know. If we have to do something else now, let's do it. 

I do believe that the commonwealth status has a lot of area for 
improvement. We were discussing with the Resident Commissioner 
additional participation. 

At the same time, I think we need more flexibility on one side 
and more participation on the other. I think the advantage of com- 
monwealth is that it can develop according to the circumstances in- 
stead of as a strait jacket. Independence, it is going now into 
interindependence in many countries. 

Mr. Underwood. One last question: You mentioned in your testi- 
mony Puerto Ricans who live in the 50 States and their participa- 
tion in an act of self-determination. How do you envision that, in 
25 words or less? 

Mr. Colorado. I think today you will hear more eloquence and 
experience in this area later on by some people who will talk about 
this issue. 

I believe the Puerto Ricans in the mainland and the Puerto 
Ricans in Puerto Rico are related in such a way that you have 
them going back and forth. It is really one community. Now we are 
talking about electing a governor or whatever. I don't see their par- 
ticipation. 

But when you are deciding the future of their country and when 
you ask an American citizen who was born in Puerto Rico or of 
Puerto Rican parents, you ask them what are you, they will tell 



127 

you they are Puerto Ricans first, and then they are American citi- 
zens. They are very proud of being American citizens, and they are 
proud of being Puerto Ricans. 

I don't see a conflict. Some people do. I believe those people who 
feel that way should be more entitled than many that live in Puer- 
to Rico who do not feel that way. It is difficult. It is not easy to 
decide who — two parents, one parent, born in Puerto Rico et cetera, 
et cetera. It is not easy. 

Mr. Underwood. I want to thank you very much. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much for your contributions here 
today. 

We are going to move along. Our next panel is made up of two 
or more of the most outstanding leaders of the islands on status is- 
sues. 

The first to speak will be the Chairman of the Senate Foreign 
Affairs Committee, Kenneth McClintock. He will be followed by 
Senator Marco Antonio Rigau. 

PANEL CONSISTING OF HON. KENNETH D. McCLINTOCK- 
HERNANDEZ AND HON. MARCO A. RIGAU, MEMBERS OF THE 
SENATE OF PUERTO RICO 

Mr. De LUGO. First, we will hear from Senator McClintock. 
STATEMENT OF HON. KENNETH D. McCLINTOCK-HERNANDEZ 

Mr. McClintock. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

My name is Kenneth D. McClintock-Hernandez. I am a member 
of the Puerto Rico Senate, elected at-large by an island-wide con- 
stituency. 

I chair its Committee on Federal Affairs and Socioeconomic De- 
velopment, a new committee created by the new pro-statehood 
supermajority in the Senate, charged with focusing its attention on 
matters pertaining to Puerto Rico's relationship with the rest of our 
Nation and economic matters. I recently served on the Select Joint 
Committee that analyzed what is known since July 4 as the 1993 
Plebiscite Law. 

Puerto Rico, as you are aware, will be voting on its political fu- 
ture next November 14. My written testimony expounds on the 
fairness of this process and includes a copy of the plebiscite law in 
Puerto Rico's newest official language. Regardless of the name 
given to the process, plebiscite, consultation or whatever, the re- 
ality is that a higher percentage of Puerto Rico's voters will vote 
than usually vote in virtually any Congressional district of this na- 
tion. 

Puerto Rico expects fair treatment from Congress. We expect to 
hear and are prepared to confront the arguments espoused against 
the admission of Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona and Okla- 
homa. 

What would be unconscionable would be to apply to Puerto Rico's 
petition for admission higher standards that were not applied to 
other U.S. citizens that did not have to wait as long as we have 
had to wait to become a State. 

My friend, Congressman Gutierrez, has suggested that inter- 
national law must be strictly applied. Strict application of inter- 
national law to an island whose people have been American citi- 



128 

zens for four generations and who have been subject to American 
constitutional law for five generations would have serious con- 
sequences. 

First, it would require the U.S. Congress to backtrack on the 
Gettysburg Address and allow the dead on those hallowed grounds 
to have died in vain. For Congress would have to recognize that in- 
alienable right of States to secede from the Union or at least those 
States, such as Texas and Hawaii, that were clearly nations prior 
to joining the union. 

Second, it would require Congress to impose independence on 
Puerto Rico as a precondition to self-determination. Over 90 per- 
cent of the people of Puerto Rico do not want to be independent 
even for a day. 

Third, strict interpretation of international law would allow the 
Puerto Rican-born son of a non-Puerto Rican serviceman to vote 
and would deny the vote to my Texas-born father who chose Puerto 
Rico as his home 41 years ago, who has been married to a Puerto 
Rican for 39 years who has three Puerto Rican sons and daughter 
and four Puerto Rican grandchildren and who will be buried in 
Puerto Rican soil. 

It is unfair to require the potential dismemberment of the Union. 
It is unfair to impose unwanted independence, and it is unfair to 
deny the vote to long-time residents of Puerto Rico as preconditions 
for Puerto Rican self-determination. 

Congressman Gutierrez' apparently unwillingness to vote for a 
statehood admission bill under any circumstances should not be the 
basis to foist upon the Congress the adherence of a strict construc- 
tion of international law that would not only impede Puerto Rican 
statehood and redefine the nature of our Federal union, but would 
also effectively impede any further political status developments in 
the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa that were not 
preceded by independence. 

I don't think the people on Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands 
wanted independence as a precondition to any future advancement 
in political status. 

Once again, Mr. Chairman, we strongly urge this Subcommittee 
and the Congress as a whole to take international law as recog- 
nized by the United States into account in your deliberations, but 
not to the extent of totally obliterating Abraham Lincoln's legacy 
or our quest to have our petition for admission studied under the 
same standards that the other 37 petitions for admission were 
studied and granted. 

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to speak on the 
intrinsic fairness of Puerto Rico's 1993 plebiscite law and indirectly 
on the Serrano Resolution. 

I have provided the Committee yesterday a full set in Spanish 
of the transcripts of the five days of hearings held by the Joint Se- 
lect Committee on the Plebiscite. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you very much. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. McClintock-Hernandez follows:] 



129 



Statement by 

Senator 

Kenneth McClintock-Hernandez 

Chairman, Committee on Federal Affairs 

Puerto Rico Senate 

• • • 

Subcommittee on Insular and 

International Affairs 
U.S. House of Representatives 

• • • 

July 13, 1993 

My name is Kenneth D. McClintock-Hernandez. I am a member of the Puerto 
Rico Senate, elected at-large by an islandwide constituency. I chair its Committee on 
Federal Affairs and Socioeconomic Development, a new committee created by the 
new pro-statehood supermajority in the Senate, charged with focusing its attention 
on matters pertaining to Puerto Rico's relationship with the rest of our nation, and 
to the economy. I recently served on the Select Joint Committee that analyzed what 
is known since July 4 as the 1993 Plebiscite Law. 

During 1992, Dr. Pedro Rossell6 campaigned for Governor on a pledge to call a 
plebiscite in 1993 to allow Puerto Rico's electorate to choose among Statehood, 
Independence, or a continuation of our current Commonwealth relationship. 

His solid victory last November and the replacement of an old pro- 
Commonwealth Legislature with a new Legislature in which statehooders enjoy a 
68% majority, is widely interpreted as a mandate to consult the people on a political 
status change. 

On May 4, after devoting 4 months to dealing with more immediate problems, 
Governor Rossello initiated a consultation process with the elected legislative 
leadership of the island's three local political-status oriented parties. On May 20, he 
submitted the plebiscite bill that became law last July 4. 

A Select Joint Committee of the Legislature held over 40 hours of public 



130 



televised hearings at which over 40 witnesses were heard. Dozens of amendments 
were suggested and, in the end, many were adopted, including one introduced by the 
main opposition party to allow the use of geometric symbols-a triangle, a circle and a 
rectangle-for the three political status formulas on the ballot. 

While each of these symbols will stand for a status option, they jointly are a 
symbol of Governor Rossello's willingness to adopt the best ideas from all sides in 
order to have the fairest law ever to govern a plebiscite or referendum on the island. 

As you know, Puerto Rico held a political status plebiscite in 1967 and a status- 
related referendum in 1991, both under the auspices of the Popular Party. I would 
like to devote a couple of minutes to discussing a number of areas in which the 
Rossello Plebiscite Law is equal, or far superior, to prior electoral laws. 
Public financing 

Each status formula received $385,000 in public financing in 1967. While 
Governor Rossello had originally suggested a $750,000 appropriation for each 
formula this year, he "raised the ante" to $900,000 per formula, which closely 
approximates the $1.1 million present value of the 1967 grant. When you throw in 
the up to 204 full-time paid employees that each formula will have during the last 11 
weeks of the campaign, the 1992 public financing package exceeds in real value the 
1967 grant. 
Spending limits 

Parties accepting public financing may spend no more than $3 million, 
including no more than $1.5 million in media expenditures. The combination of 
spending limits and generous public financing assures each party the necessary 
resources to cover at least 60% of their maximum media expenditures, which should 
substantially level the playing field. I must mention at this point that no spending 
limits were legislated for the 1991 reeferendum, thus resulting in the statehood party 



131 



While others may appear before you questioning a plebiscite law that is the 
result of a clear electoral mandate, as well as the open-mindedness of a new 
governor willing to accept suggestions from opposition party leaders, please keep in 
mind that such criticisms are in keeping with Puerto Rico's highly divisive and 
partisan political system. 

The Plebiscite Law signed by Governor Rossell6 is fairer than any comparable 
legislation in the past. 

Congress can rest assured that the results of a plebiscite held under the rules of 
fair play will accurately reflect the people's will, especially if voter turnout meets or 
exceeds expectations. 

Between 1989 and 1991, the United States Congress had the opportunity to take 
the lead on this issue and it didn't. The implicit message in not doing so was that 
Puerto Rico should get its act together first, decide what status option it preferred, 
and then, and only then, return to Congress to petition for a specific status formula. 
That is what the people voted for last November, and that is the process— the right 
to petition Congress— that began last July 4th with the signing of the 1993 Plebiscite 
Law by Governor Rossello. 

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to speak on the intrinsic 
fairness of Puerto Rico's 1993 Plebiscite Law and I include a copy of the same in 
English, one of our two official languages, plus a full set, in Spanish of the 
transcripts of the five days of hearings held by the Joint Select Committee on the 
Plebiscite. 

9/7/93 02:29:59 pm 



132 



being outspent 11 to 1 (although our proposition nevertheless won by a landslide). 
Governm ent advertising 

Puerto Rico's Electoral Law prohibits government advertisements during the 
months leading up to a general election. Although that ban doesn't apply to special 
elections or referenda, Governor Rossell6 specifically self-imposed the ban in the 
recently enacted Plebiscite Law. 

In 1991, the Popular Party defeated an amendment imposing a ban prior to the 
December 8 referendum, allowing the incumbents then to spend over $10 million in 
government ads during the months leading up to the referendum. 
Eligible voters 

Public law in most Latin countries is based on ius sanguini, ancestry, while 
public law in the United States, including its two Civil Law jurisdictions, Louisiana 
and Puerto Rico, is based on ius soli, or domicile. 

While some witnesses at our legislative hearings, including Puerto Rico's 
mandatory Bar Association, suggested that ius sanguini should apply so as to allow 
Puerto Rican-born persons who don't reside in Puerto Rico to vote in the plebiscite, 
the downside of that proposition, as the Bar Association president admitted, is that 
long-standing residents of Puerto Rico, such as my father, who chose Puerto Rico as 
his home 41 years ago, would not be allowed to vote, even though they are U.S. 
citizens and voters in Puerto Rico elections. 

In keeping with long-standing electoral law supported by all political parties, 
the 1993 Plebiscite Law applies existing law regarding voter eligibility. 
Neutral voter education 

The 1993 Plebiscite Law appropriates $1.35 million to the State Elections 
Commission for a neutral, balanced, factual, voter education media campaign 
approved by Puerto Rico's three political parties. 



133 



(H.B.694) 

(NO. 22) 

(Approved July 4, 1993) 

AH ACT 

To provide for the holding of a Plebiscite on the Political 
Status of Puerto Rico; to provide for its organization; 
to establish prohibitions with regard to the publication 
of advertisements; to define some violations of law 
regarding the Plebiscite herein provided; to repeal Act 
No. 1 of December 23, 1966, known as "Plebiscite Act of 
1967" and to appropriate funds for the holding thereof. 

STATEMENT OF MOTIVES 

By virtue of the First Amendment of the Constitution of 
the United States of America, the American citizens residents 
in Puerto Rico have the right to "peaceably assemble and to 
petition the Government for a redress of grievances". More 
than twenty-five years have passed since the last time the 
People of Puerto Rico had the opportunity to exercise this 
right with respect to the definition of its political status 
by means of a plebiscite. During these years, our society 
has changed dramatically. There is a new generation of 
Puerto Ricans who wish to express themselves free and 
democratically, at the polls, for the purpose of establishing 
the grounds for the solution of the political status problem 
of Puerto Rico. 

It corresponds to the people of Puerto Rico to deal 
directly with the decision regarding its final political 
destiny. For this reason, and because of the commitment all 
Puerto Ricans have to our right to petition • and 
self-determination, the Legislature has the responsibility to 
make feasible the holding of non-discriminatory plebiscites 
on the general question of status. 

This year, when we celebrate the Fifth Centennial of the 
discovery of our Island by Spain, it constitutes a great 
burden in the minds of the Puerto Ricans that such an 
important date should pass without expressing themselves with 
respect to its future. It seems, thus, essential to hold a 
plebiscite on the political status which would include the 
three main ideological tendencies of our historical 
development, to be held during the month of November, 1993. 

The electoral expression of the People of Puerto Rico is 
fundamental in order to initiate the process of the final 
definition of the political status. Inclusively, all the 
Presidents of the United States, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to 
William J. Clinton, have stated their commitment to respect 
the decision of Puerto Ricans. The Congress of the United 
States has stated the same. In fact, recent steps taken by 



134 



the Congress directed to finding a solution to the problem of 
the political status of Puerto Rico were halted due to the 
absence of an electoral expression of -Puerto Ricans, as 
manifested by the majority of the Federal Senators who 
intervened in that process. 

The exercise of the inalienable right of Puerto Ricans to 
self-determination through vote is a right internationally 
recognized and of specific application in the juridical 
systems of the United States of America and the Commonwealth 
of Puerto Rico. The future and aspirations of our people 
must be jolted from the apathy caused by inactivity. It 
corresponds to the people to initiate the process of 
self-determination. This Act is a legitimate instrument for 
the vote and action of the people. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF PUERTO RICO: 

Section 1.- To provide for the holding of a Plebiscite on 
November 14, 1993, in which the People of Puerto Rico may 
express their will regarding the political status of their 
preference. Said Plebiscite shall be held in a free, 
equitable and democratic manner, so that qualified voters may 
vote in same and choose among the following political 
formulas: 

(a) Statehood 

(b) Commonwealth 

(c) Independence 

The principal political parties or any group, 
organization or entity certified or selected to defend any of 
the three status formulas, shall state in writing the 
definition of the status formula each- is proclaiming and 
defending during the plebiscitary process authorized herein. 

Section 2.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 

design and print the ballot to be used, which shall be 

uniform in size, printed in black ink on heavy paper, so that 

that the printing thereon will not show through to the back. 

The ballot shall bear the following full-width heading at 
the top end: 

"Plebiscite on the Political Status of Puerto Rico". 

Thereunder shall appear three columns. 

At the top of the first column there shall appear the 

emblem, symbol or insignia representing statehood. 

Thereunder, the following word shall appear: "Statehood", 

under which shall be a space for the voter's mark. 

An the top of the second column there shall appear the 

emblem, symbol or insignia representing the Commonwealth. 

Thereunder, the following word shall appear: 

"Commonwealth", under which shall be a space for the 
voter's mark. 



135 



An the top of the third column there shall appear 
the emblem, symbol or insignia representing 
Independence. 

Thereunder, the following word shall appear: 

"Independence", under which shall be a space for the 
voter's mark. 

Section 3.- Not later than thirty (30) days from the date 
of effectiveness of this Act, the principal political parties 
interested in participating in the process, or in the absence 
thereof, any group, organization or entity certified or 
selected to defend one of the three (3) status formulas, as 
established in Section 9 of this Act, shall submit to the 
Commonwealth Elections Commission the clear and concise 
definition of the political status formula they proclaim. In 
a drawing to be conducted by the Commonwealth Elections 
Commission, not prior to fifteen (15) days nor later than 
twenty (20) days after the effectiveness of this Act, the 
symbol corresponding to each formula shall be awarded in the 
presence of the representatives of the three formulas. The 
Commission shall award one of the following geometric figures 
as a symbol to each of the three formula: 

(1) a circle 

(2) a triangle 

(3) a rectangle 

Section 4.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
announce the Plebiscite through a Proclamation to be 
published at least sixty (60) days before the Plebiscite is 
held in three (3) general circulation newspapers of the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 

Section 5.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
have the responsibility of organizing, directing, 
implementing and supervising the Plebiscite process provided 
in this Act, as well as any other functions conferred to it 
by virtue of this Act. 

Section 6.- Act No. 4 of December 20, 1977, as amended, 
known as "Puerto Rico Electoral Act", and the regulations 
approved by virtue thereof, except when incompatible with the 
provisions of this Act or the regulations approved pursuant 
to the same, shall be considered supplemental to this Act and 
its provisions shall be applicable to all the procedures 
related to the holding of the Plebiscite, as may be 
necessary, pertinent and compatible with the purposes of this 
Act and provided that no other regulations have been 
adopted. The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall be 
empowered to adopt the regulations or resolutions that may be 
necessary for this procedure to be carried out and the 
purposes of this Act complied with in an effective and 
equitable manner. Likewise, the Local Elections Commissions 
shall execute the functions inherent to their 
responsibilities, adjusted to the special characteristics of 
this Plebiscite. 



136 



The leave granted by Section 1.021 of the Puerto Rico 
Electoral Act to the local Commissioners who are public 
servants shall be effective from August 30 to November 15, 
1993. For the purposes of this Plebiscite, the payment of 
per diems provided in Section 1.020 of the Electoral Act is 
hereby authorized to a maximum of four monthly meetings. 

Section 7.- Those elector duly qualified as such, 
pursuant to the Puerto Rico Electoral Act shall be entitled 
to vote in the Plebiscite provided in this Act. The 
Commonwealth Elections Commission shall include in the list 
of voters all those electors active in the General Register 
of Electors as of November three (3), 1992, except for 
exclusions due to death, those electors who, as of November 
fourteen (14), 1993 have reached the age of 18, and those 
electors who register or become active as such on the date 
of the final closing of the electoral registry, pursuant to 
Section 15 of this Act. The presentation of the Puerto Rico 
Electoral Identification Card, which shall be punched after 
the elector has cast his/her vote, and the inking in the 
voting procedure shall be required pursuant to the Puerto 
Rico Electoral Act. It shall not be necessary for this 
Plebiscite to send the file card to the polling places, as 
provided in Section 2.009 of the Electoral Act. 

Section 8.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
develop a campaign to provide information and orientation for 
the Puerto Rican elector on the Plebiscite to be held on the 
Political Status of Puerto Rico, exhorting electors to 
register and participate in the process; the manner in which 
the elector should mark the ballot to cast his/her vote 
therein; and the contents of the definitions for each of the 
status formulas proposed by the political parties or the 
groups that shall participate in the Plebiscite representing 
the various formulas. The Commonwealth Elections Commission 
shall use all available communications media and public 
broadcasting techniques for said campaign. Said campaign 
shall begin at least sixty (60) days prior to the date in 
which the Plebiscite is to be held. As part of its 
information and orientation phase, this campaign shall 
reproduce verbatim throughout the communications media the 
text of the definitions of each of the three status formulas 
submitted to the vote. Provided, that the contents of the 
formulas to be punished and which were presented by the 
political parties or groups representing them and 
participating in the Plebiscite, shall not exceed one third 
of an 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of paper, single spaced in number 
12 pica type. The Commission shall also publish, at least 
once, in all the newspapers of general circulation, the text 
of the definitions, and shall reproduce said text in 8" by 
11" handout leaflets to be extensively distributed, copies of 
which shall be available together with the ballot to the 
electors on the day of the Plebiscite at the polling places. 

Section 9.- The duly registered principal political 
parties may participate in the Plebiscite, officially 
representing one of the formulas, provided that their central 



137 



directing bodies notify the Commission in writing of such an 
intention within fifteen (15) days following the date of 
effectivenes of this Act. If the central directing body of 
any party having a specific formula in its program fails to 
notify the Commonwealth Elections Commission of its intention 
to participate in the Plebiscite, as above provided, or if 
any party, having notified the Commonwealth Elections 
Commission of its intention to participate and campaign 
during the Plebiscite as an active supporter of such status 
formula, later agrees to recommend abstention or wishes to 
abstain from voting in the Plebiscite should over thirty (30) 
day remain before the date set for the Plebiscite election, 
the Commonwealth Elections Commissions shall proceed to issue 
a certification authorizing any group, organization or entity 
to choose one of the formulas to defend, provided it complies 
with the following requirements: 

(1) If, by the date of its certification by the 
Commonwealth Elections Commission, said group, organization 
or entity existed and had a public and acknowledged history 
of defending the status formula concerned; and if it were 
composed in part by persons affiliated to a group, 
organization or entity that existed prior to the date of the 
holding of the Plebiscite and had a public and acknowledged 
history of defending the status formula being promoted by the 
actual group, organization or entity; or, not having existed 
at the date of effectiveness of this Act, a substantial 
number of its members has had a public and acknowledged 
history of defending the status formula they intend to 
represent during the Plebiscite because of their affiliation 
to any party. 

(2) That said group, organization or entity is interested 
in participating actively in the proposed Plebiscite, in 
support of the status formula of its preference and that to 
such effects, its central directing body has correspondingly 
agreed. 

(3) That the central directing body of said group, 
organization or entity representing the status formula of its 
preference before the government bodies, for the purpose of 
this Plebiscite, shall notify the Commonwealth Elections 
Commission in writing the names and addresses of the members 
constituting the directing committee of said group, whose 
names shall appear in the certification issued by the 
Commonwealth Elections Commission. Said certification shall 
be accompanied by a list containing a number of signatures 
equal to no less than one percent (1%) of all the electors 
who voted on the last general elections for the political 
party which promoted the status formula favored by said 
group, organization or entity interested in participating in 
the Plebiscite. Such petitions may only be subscribed by 
those electors entitled to vote. The Commonwealth Elections 
Commission shall adopt the governing rules with respect to 
the special form and the procedures that shall be observed to 
establish this provision. 



138 



Section 10.- Any bona fide group of citizens may 
participate as observers of the electoral process, provided 
they comply with the requirements established by the 
Commission to that effect through regulations. The 
Commonwealth Elections Commision shall provide, through 
regulations, the degree to which these groups shall 
participate as observers in the Plebiscite process pursuant 
to the provisions in the Puerto Rico Electoral Act. Any 
groups of citizens wishing to participate as observers in the 
democratic electoral process, shall notify the Commonwealth 
Elections Commission of their intention within fifteen (15) 
days following the effective date of this Act. Any party 
which notifies the Commonwealth Elections Commission as to 
its intention to participate in the Plebiscite shall be 
entitled to be represented in the polling places, as provided 
in the Puerto Rico Electoral Act. 

Section 11.- Electors entitled to absentee vote, as 
provided in Section 5.035 of the Electoral Act, shall file an 
application under oath not less than thirty (30) days before 
the date of the Plebiscite. For the purposes of adjudicating 
the absentee votes received, a term of not less than thirty 
(30) days from the delivery of the ballots by the Commission 
to the elector shall be granted. 

Section 12.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
establish, through a resolution, the maximum number of 
officials or employees from the agency, for the national 
Guard or from the Puerto Rico Police assigned to essential 
duties on the day of the Plebiscite who shall be entitled to 
an advanced vote. 

Section 13.- On the day of the Plebiscite, the Puerto 
Rico Police shall provide sufficient regular personnel to see 
that public law and order are maintained. 

In those municipalities having a Municipal Guard Corps, 
it shall collaborate with the Puerto Rico Police to maintain 
order and security in the polling places. 

Section 14.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
adopt the rules for the holding of the Plebiscite at least 
sixty (60) days before the date thereof. Any proposed 
amendment to such regulations shall be presented to the 
Commonwealth Elections Commission by one of the Electoral 
Commissioners and shall be approved unanimously by the 
Commissioners present at the moment of voting. Any amendment 
submitted for the consideration of said Commission which does 
not receive unanimity of votes, shall be decided, for or 
against, by the Chairman, whose decision shall be considered 
as the decision of the Commonwealth Elections Commission and 
may be appealed as provided in the Electoral Act. Provided, 
that any amendment during the last twenty (20) days prior to 
the voting and until the conclusion of the canvass, shall 
solely be made, by unanimity of votes in the Commonwealth 
Elections Commission. 



139 



to the reports containing data regarding fund collecting and 
campaign expenses. 

Section 19.- No person, whether natural or juridical, may 
make contributions, directly or indirectly for the plebiscite 
campaign of a principal political party, group, organization 
or entity representing one of the political status formulas, 
or to independent groups supporting any status formula, in 
excess of the following amounts: 

(a) All natural and juridical persons may make voluntary 
contributions to a political party or group representing one 
of the political status formulas in the Plebiscite for up to 
a total amount of two thousand five hundred (2,500) dollars. 
Likewise, all natural and juridical persons may make 
contributions to independent groups or committees supporting 
one of the formulas, for up to the amount of five hundred 
(500) dollars. In any case, the total contributions of one 
person may not exceed five thousand (5,000) dollars. 

(b) Any direct or indirect contribution from a banking 
institution; from any institution devoted to lending money; 
from brokerage firms devoted to selling securities; and from 
corporations whose stocks are sold in securities markets or 
to the general public or from affiliates or subsidiaries 
thereof, made for purposes of the Plebiscite campaign to any 
political party or group representing one of the political 
status formulas in the Plebiscite shall be illegal. 

Section 20.- Any person or group of persons not attached 
to a political party or to any group, organization or entity 
certified or selected to defend one of the three status 
formulas, who receives contributions or incurs independent 
expenses in excess of five hundred (500)' dollars to campaign 
for or against one of the formulas, shall register at the 
Commission within ten (10) days following the date in which 
they were organized as a group, or the date in which the 
excess contribution or expense herein provided is either 
received or incurred. 

Section 21.- Any person or group of persons not attached 
to a political party or to any group, organization or entity 
certified or selected to defend one of the three satus 
formulas, that independently requests or accepts 
contributions, or incurs independent expenses for the benefit 
of one of the formulas, must publicly reveal and specify 
that said expense has not been approved by the party, group, 
organization or entity in question. Any oral or written 
communication through which contributions are requested or 
accepted, or through which independent expenses are incurred 
for the benefit of a party, group, organization or entity 
certified or selected shall indicate clearly and 
straightforwardly that the activity or announcement 
publicized has been made without the authorization of the 
concerned party or group, organization or entity certified or 
selected that is being benefited. 



140 



Section 15.- The Commission shall determine the time of 
delivery of the electoral lists and the closing of the 
listings. The final closing date for electoral registry 
shall never exceed fifty (50) days prior to the holding of 
the Plebiscite. The Commission shall provide measures and 
remedies in order to guarantee the right to vote of any 
elector who, for reasons which cannot be attributed to the 
latter, is unduly excluded from the electoral registry. 

Section 16.- The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall 
keep all ballots and canvassing result sheets corresponding 
to the Plebiscite for a term of ninety (90) days following 
the certification of the results, and they shall then be 
destroyed, unless any legal appeal were pending, in which 
case, they shall be kept until the judgment is rendered and 
it becomes final and biding. 

Section 17.- For the purposes of this Act, the Chairman 
of the Commonwealth Elections Commission is hereby authorized 
to order the purchase or lease of materials and printed 
matter and machinery and equipment directly from the 
suppliers, without the intervention of the Purchasing and 
Supplies Service of the General Services Administration. 
Likewise, the President of the Commission is hereby 
authorized to contract the use of electronic or any other 
type of machinery to carry out the purposes of this Act. 

It shall be the duty of the Government of the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, its agencies, instrumentalities, 
municipalities, public corporations and their subsidiary 
corporations, to provide, the Commonwealth Elections 
Commission free of charge for its use, during a reasonable 
period of time and provided this does not unduly hinder the 
public activities they perform, with any office equipment and 
other mechanical, electronic, and transportation equipment, 
personnel or any other resources available, which may be 
necessary to adequately perform the duties herein imposed. 

Section 18.- Every principal political party or any 
group, organization or entity certified or selected to defend 
one of the qualified status formulas which has availed itself 
of the public financing provided in this Act and eventually 
decides to withdraw its participation from the Plebiscite, 
shall be obliged to return the amount received up to the 
moment of withdrawal from the process plus the legal interest. 

All principal political parties or groups, entities or 
organizations which are entitled to and actually avail 
themselves of the public financing provided in this Act, may 
spend up to a maximum amount of three million (3,000,000) 
dollars on the Plebiscite campaign. Provided, that an amount 
of up to one million, five hundred thousand (1,500,000) 
dollars may be spent for the purchase of time and space in 
the communications media. 

The Commonwealth Elections Commission shall provide, 
through regulations to such effects, as to matters pertaining 



141 



Any expense incurred and which does not comply with what 
is herein provided shall be charged to the limit of the 
political party, group, organization or entity certified or 
selected to defend one of the three (3) formulas supported by 
the concerned person or group of persons. 

In any publicized communication, be it oral or written, 
pursuant to the provisions of this section, the name of the 
person, persons or independent group which sponsors and 
defrays the same must always be identified, as well as the 
name of the treasurer or his/her authorized agent, should it 
be a political organization or committee. 

Section 22.- Sixty (60) days before the date the 
Plebiscite is to be held and until November 15, 1993, the 
agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico, the Legislature of 
Puerto Rico and the Judiciary Branch are prohibited from 
incurring expenses for the purchase of time and space in the 
public information media in order to expound their programs, 
projects, achievements, accomplishments, projections or plans 
or to otherwise influence, directly or indirectly, the 
electors as to voting in the Plebiscite on the Political 
Status of Puerto Rico. Those press notices and announcements 
expressly required by law are excluded from this provision. 
Likewise excluded are those notices used to divulge 
information of public interest, urgency or emergency, which 
shall only be allowed by prior authorization of the 
Commonwealth Elections Commission. This provision of law 
shall not be applicable to the Commission created by H.R. No. 
71 of June 30, 1986. 

Section 23.- It is prohibited to keep public propaganda 
or persuasion premises for or against the political formulas 
proposed in the Plebiscite, open to the public on the day of 
the Plebiscite within a radius of one hundred (100) meters 
from any building or structure where a polling place has been 
established, which distance shall be measured from any point 
in the building or structure where the propaganda premise has 
been installed. 

Section 24.- No propaganda or persuasion premises for or 
against the political formulas proposed in the Plebiscite 
shall be installed at less than fifty (50) meters from 
another one or from a political propaganda premise or from 
the Permanent Registration Boards established previously. 
The implementation of this Section shall be carried out 
pursuant to the provisions of Seccion 8.002 of the Puerto 
Rico Electoral Act. 

Section 25.- In addition to the prohibitions mentioned 
above, the provisions on prohibitions and offenses 
established in Sections 8.003 to 8.027 of the Puerto Rico 
Electoral Act shall govern in full force and effect. 

Section 26.- Any person who violates the provisions of 
this Act shall be sanctioned with the penalty of imprisonment 
for not more than six (6) months or a fine which shall exceed 



142 



five hundred (500) dollars, or both penalties at the 
discretion of the Court. 

Section 27.- The Chairman of the Commonwealth Elections 
Commission shall send a certification of the results of the 
Plebiscite to the Governor of Puerto Rico and to the 
Secretary of State no later then forty-eight (48) hours after 
the general canvassing is completed. The Governor, in turn, 
shall certify the results to the President and to the 
Congress of the United States and to the Legislature of 
Puerto Rico. 

Section 28.- The funds appropriated to the Commonwealth 
Election Commission to defray the expenses of holding the 
Plebiscite provided by this Act, shall be distributed in the 
following manner: 

(1) To organize and carry out 

the Plebiscite $4 , 700 , 000 

(2) For the orientation and information 
campaign expenses provided in 

Section 8 of this Act $1,350,000 

(3) For the expenses of the political 

parties and any group, organization or entity 
certified or selected to represent one of the 
formulas, to be divided in equal parts among them, 
including the payment of transportation of electors 
who need to go to vote within the same precinct or 
municipality where they are registered, and the 
organization and supervision of said 
transportation $2 , 700 , 000 

TOTAL $8,750,000 

The monies appropriated herein shall originate from the 
item appropriated and accounted for in custody of the Office 
of the Budget and Management to defray the costs of the 
holding of the Plebiscite on the Political Status of Puerto 
Rico. 

Section 29. Act No. 1 of December 23, 1966, known as the 
■Plebiscite Act of 1967" is hereby repealed. 

Section 30. If any clause, paragraph, section or part of 
this Act were declared unconstitutional by a Court of 
competent jurisdiction, the judgment rendered to such effect 
shall not affect or invalidate the remaining provisions of 
this Act. The effect of said judgment shall be limited to 
the clause, paragraph, section or part of the Act declared 
unconstitutional . 

Section 31. This Act shall take effect immediately after 
its approval. 



143 

Mr. de Lugo. We will hear from Senator Rigau now and then we 
will have questions for the witnesses. 

STATEMENT OF HON. MARCO A. RIGAU 

Mr. Rigau. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, Mr. 
Serrano, once again we come here. Once again, we testify before 
you concerning the relationship of Puerto Rico with the United 
States. We still have the opportunity to think and act on the politi- 
cal status of Puerto Rico. 

During the last 40 years, inaction and incoherent actions by Con- 
gress are slowly drifting the United States and Puerto Rico into a 
critical situation. Congress is painting the United States into a cor- 
ner. 

Dependence on the transfer of Federal funds grows every year, 
both in Puerto Rico's budget and mentality. Reliance on incentives 
that create investments and jobs in Puerto Rico are unilaterally 
crippled by Congress, as the present situation of Section 936 of the 
Internal Revenue Code in the pending legislation before Congress 
illustrates. 

It is a paradox that, while the United States leaders are correctly 
trying to cut the deficit of the budget, nothing is being done to try 
to assist Puerto Rico to develop a less dependent and more self-suf- 
ficient economy, while maintaining, at least, the present living 
standard in Puerto Rico. 

We congratulate Congressman Jose Serrano. The House Concur- 
rent Resolution 94 provides all of us with the opportunity to de- 
velop a rational approach to tackle the issue of the status relation- 
ship between Puerto Rico and the United States before we reach 
the bottom half of the ninth inning. 

From 1989 to 1991 the people of Puerto Rico, our three political 
parties and their respective presidents, the President of the United 
States and the U.S. House of Representatives acted as times re- 
quired. We cannot say the same of the United States Senate. They 
just did not deliver. They balked. 

One of the most distinguished Members of the Senate, not a par- 
ticipant in that mishap, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ac- 
knowledged this in his last book, "Pandemonium," when he states: 
"The United States Government is caught up with this seemingly 
intractable problem of resolving the status of Puerto Rico, a prize 
of colonial war taken from Spain in 1898. Despite the urging of 
President Bush that Congress provide for a referendum which will 
enable the citizens of Puerto Rico to make such a choice, Congress 
has not been willing to do so. Congressional resistance arises large- 
ly from the question of whether the island should have the option 
to choose statehood while retaining Spanish as an official lan- 
guage." 

The legislative assembly of Puerto Rico has just enacted legisla- 
tion for a plebiscite on November 14, 1993. The delegation of our 
party, the Popular Democratic Party, voted against that measure 
both in the Senate and the House because we disagree with many 
of its imposed and unfair provisions. 

Nevertheless, I am not here to discuss our disagreements with 
Governor Rossello or his party. That might make happy those in 
the United States or Puerto Rico who would rather procrastinate 



144 

the issue of the status of Puerto Rico forever, regardless of the best 
interests and cost for both of our countries. 

We will participate and win in the plebiscite. There, we will dis- 
cuss our differences. 

Here, in Washington, we seek your commitment to try to engage 
the United States political branches, Congress and the executive, 
to make real our right to self-determination. It can only be done 
with a process of mutual determination. And also you have to try 
to engage the Committee members who are not representing the af- 
filiated islands, so we have more participation which is our pro- 
gram always in this process. 

H.Con.Res. 94 wants Congress to reaffirm the commitment of the 
U.S. to the principle of self-determination. We all agree it should 
be done. If we do not have a process to make it a reality, we might 
end up with the same lip service we have obtained for four decades, 
without any results. 

This is what I think should be done: 

One, it is essential for Congress to respond with a fast-track pro- 
cedure to the petition to be made by the people of Puerto Rico in 
the proposed November 14 vote on political status. Article 27 of the 
Plebiscite Law provides that the result of the plebiscite will be sent 
to Congress and to the President of the United States. The law 
states that the result of the plebiscite should be treated as a peti- 
tion to the U.S. Government for a redress of grievances, as pro- 
vided for by Article I of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. 

The Defense Department, the State Department, the Treasury, 
Interior, Justice and many others who can provide intelligence in 
this process should do so, of course with due respect to the demo- 
cratically elected officials in our democratic society. 

Even for those who still keep close to their hearts the geopolitical 
concepts of Captain Alfred T. Mahan, this process can provide to 
accommodate and protect their interests. But, as a brilliant politi- 
cian from Arkansas said, I don't think it is the proper function of 
the military to determine or decisively influence our national prior- 
ities. 

The importance, urgency and the need to solve the matter in 
your hands now was well taken by the former Director of Latin 
American and Caribbean Affairs on the National Security Council 
from 1977 to 1981, Robert Pastor. He wrote: 

"The United States will have taken the first step out of the Latin 
American whirlpool when it demonstrates the political will and the 
respect necessary to resolve the status issue with the people of 
Puerto Rico." Whirlpool: U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Latin Amer- 
ican and the Caribbean. Page 220. 

We believe that Mr. Pastor's statement should be the policy of 
this administration and this Congress while you are in office and 
can make it a legacy for our countries and the hemisphere. 

Two, if we are to achieve the goal required by the Democratic 
party platform that such process should be implemented in concert 
with Congress, H.Con.Res. 94 should be amended to add items that 
should correspond to text based on sections 5, 6 and 7 of H.R. 4765 
of the 101st Congress, 2nd session, thus treating the petition of No- 
vember 14 through the process approved unanimously by the 
House in 1990. 



145 

Three, there is something else that cannot be ignored. We have 
always supported the right of all Puerto Ricans to participate in all 
plebiscites, referendums or any process where the future of Puerto 
Rico is at stake. We cannot discriminate against our people who 
are not living in Puerto Rico today. Congress can legislate, if it 
wants to, and provide for the participation in any process under 
U.S. or Puerto Rico's law where the status of Puerto Rico is being 
voted upon. 

Four, we are aware that in the decisionmaking process to coordi- 
nate a policy for this administration on the insular areas, many 
players will have their input. That is the way it should be. For that 
reason, a Cabinet Council on Insular Affairs should be created at 
the White House level. H.R. 6117 of the 102nd Congress provides 
for a good model that can be created. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you very much, Senator Rigau. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Rigau follows:] 



146 



TESTIMONY BEFORE THE STTOmMM I TI'KK ON INSULAR AFFAIRS OF 
THE COMMITTEE OF NATURAL RESOURCES OF THE HOUSE OF 
REPRESENTATIVES OF THS UNITED STATES OH THE HOUSE CONCURRENT 
RKROT.TTTTON 94 SUBMITTED BY CONGK&SSHAN SERRANO BEGARDIHGTHE 
EXPRESSION ' OF SELF-OETESHZHATIOH DY THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO 
RICO, JULY 13, 1993. 



MARCO ANTONIO KlGAU 



10. 



Senator (Popular Democratic Party-At Large) 
senate of Puerto Kico 
San Juan, Puerto Rico 



MR. CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE: 

ONCE AGAIN, WE COME HERE. ONCE AGAIN, WE TESTIFY BEFORE 
YOU CONCERNING thf RELATIONSHIP OF PUERTO RICO WITH THE 
UNITED STATES. WE STILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THINK AND 
ACT ON THE POLITICAL STATUS OF PUERTO RICO. 

DURING THE LAST FORTY YEARS, INACTION AND INCOHERENT 
ACTIONS BY CONGRESS ARE SLOWLY DRIFTING THE UNITED STATES, 
AND PUERTO RICO, INTO A CRITICAL SITUATION. CONGRESS IS 
PAINTING THE UNITED STATES INTO A CORNER. 

DEPENDANCE ON THE TRANSFER OF FEDERAL FUNDS GROWS EVERY 
YEARS, ROTE" TN PUERTO RTCO'S BUDGET AND MENTALITY. RELIANCE 
ON INCENTIVES THAT CREATE INVESTMENTS AND JOBS IN PUERTO 
RICO ARE UNILATERALLY CRIPPLED BY CONGRESS, AS THE PRESENT 
SITUATION Of SECTION 936 Ot TtiiS INTERNAL REVENUE CODE IN THE 
PENDING LEGISLATION BEFORE CONGRESS ILLUSTRATES. 

IT IS A PARADOX THAT WHILE THE UNITED STATES LEADERS ARE 
CORRECTLY TRYING TO CUT THE DEFICIT OF THE BUDGET, NOTHING 
TS RETWG DONE TO TRY TO ASSTRT PUERTO RTCO TO DEVELOP A LESS 
DEPENDANT, AND MORE SELF SUFFICIENT ECONOMY, WHILE 
MAINTAINING, AT LEAST, THE PRESENT LIVING STANDARD IN PUERTO 
RTCO. 



147 



-2- 



WE CONGRATULATE CONGRESSMAN JOSE SERRANO. THE HOUSE 
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION y4 PROVIDES ALL OF TTS WTTW TRK 
OPPO RTUNITY TO DEVELOP A RATIONAL APPROACH TO TACKLE THE 
ISSUE OF THE STATUS RELATIONSHIP DETWEEH PUERTO RICO AND THE 
UNITED STATES, BEFORE WE REACH THE BOTTOM HALF Oe TJUS NINTH 
INNING. 

FROM 1989 TO 1991 THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO, OUR THREE 
POLITICAL PARTIES AND THEIR RESPECTIVE PRESIDENTS. THE 
PRESIDENT OF THE nNTTKn STATES AND THE U.S. HOUSE OF 
REPRESENTATIVES ACTED AS TIMES REQUIRED. WE CANNOT SAY THE 
SAME OF THE UNI TE D STATES SENATE. THET JUST DID NOT 
DELIVERED. THEY BALKED. 

ON* OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, NOT 
A PARTICIPANT IN THAT MISHAP, SENATOR DANIEL PATRICK 
MOYNIHAN ACKNOWLEDGED THIS IN HIS LAST BOOK PANnKMONTIIM, 
wtUSW HE STATES: 

THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IS CAUGHT UP WITH. THIS 

SEEMINGLY INTRACTABLE PROBLTOf OF PFSOL VTHG THE STATUS OF 
BQBB3BP RICO, A PRIZE OF COLONIAL MAR TAKE N FR O M SPA IN IN 

1898. DESPITE THE URGING OF PRESIDENT PUS H THAT 

CONGRESS PROVIDE FOR A RKPKRKNUUM WHICH HILL FHABLK THE 
CITIZENS OF PUERTO RICO TO MAKE SUCH A CHOICE , C ONGRESS 
HAS HOT BEEN WILLING TO DO SO. CONGRESS IOHAL RES ISTANCE 
ARISES TABBIH.Y *«UM THE QUESTION OF WHET HER T HE ISLA ND 
SHOULD HAVE MB OPTION TO CHOOSE ; STATEHOOD WHILST 
BETA T NI HG SPANISH AS AH OFFICIAL LANGUAGE." (P- 73) 

THE LEGTST.ATTVE ASSEMBLY OF PUERTO RICO HAS JUST ENACTED 
LEGISLATION FOR A PLEBISCITE ON NOVEMBER 14, 1993. 

THE DELEGATION OF OUR PARTY. THE POPULAR DEMOCRATIC 
PARTY, VOTED AGATWST THAT MEASURE BOTH IN THE SENATE AND THE 
HOUSE, BECAUSE WE DISAGREE WITH MANY OF ITS IMPOSED AND 
UNFAIR PROVISIONS. NEVERTHELESS, I AM NOT HERE TO DISCUSS 



148 



-3- 



OUR DISAGREEMENTS WITH COVERNOR ROSSELLO OR HIS PARTY. THAT 
MIGHT MAKE HAPPY THOSE IN THE UNITED STATES OR PUERTO RICO 
WHO WOULD RATHER PROCRASTINATE THE ISSUE OF THE STATUS OF 
PUERTO RICO FOREVER, REGARDLESS OP THE BEST INTERESTS AND 
COST FOR DOTH OF OUR COUNTRIES. 

WE WILL PAKTlCiFATE AND WIN IN THE PT.EHTSCTTE. THERE, 
WE WILL DISCUSS OUR DIFFERENCES. 

HERE, WE SEEK YOUR COMMITMENT TO TRY TO ENGAGE THE 
UNITED STATES POLITICAL BRANCttJES, CONGRESS AND THE 
EXECUTIVE, TO MAKE REAT. OUR RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION. IT 
CAN ONLY BE DONE WITH A PROCESS OF "MUTUAL DETERMINATION". 

H. CON. RES. 94 WANTS CONGRESS, TO "REAFIRM" THtt 
COMMITMENT Of THE U.S. TO THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF 
DETERMINATION. WE ALL AGREE IT SHOULD BE DONE. IF WE DO NO 
HAVE A PROCESS TO MAKE IT A REALITY, WE MIGHT END UP WITH 
Tffir SAME LIP SERVICE Wis HAVE OBTAINED FOR FOUR DECADES, 
WITHOUT ANY RESULTS. THIS IS TO BE DONE: 

(1} IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR CONGRESS TO RESPOND WITH A 
FAST-TRACK PROCEDURE TO THE PETITION TO HE MADE BY THE 
PEOPLE Of PUERTO RICO TW THE PROPOSED NOVEMBER 14 VOTE ON 
POLITICAL STATUS. ARTICLE 27 OF THE PLEBISCITE LAW PROVIDES 
THAT THE RESULT OF THE PLEBISCITE WILL BE SEND TO CONGRESS 
AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE TTNTTRT* STATES. THE LAW STATES 
THAT THE RESULT OF THE PLEBISCITE SHOULD BE TREATED AS A 
PETITION TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR A "REDRESS Of 
GRIEVANCES" , AS PROVIED FOR BX ARTICLE I OF THE BILL OF 
RIGHTS OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION . 



149 



-5- 

THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, THE STATE DEPARTMENT, THE 
TWSASUKX, INTERIOR, JUSTICE AND MANY OTHERS WHO CAN PROVIDE 
INTELLIGENCE IN THIS PROCESS SHOULD DO SO, OF COURSE WITH 
DUE RESPECT TO THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED OFFICIALS IN OUR 
DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY. 

EVEN FOR THOSE WHO STILL mm CLOSE TO TtreTD HEARTS THE 
GEOPOLITICAL CONCEPTS OF CAPTAIN ALFRED T. MAHAN, THIS 
PROCESS CAN PROVIDE TO ACCOMMODATE AND PROTECT THEIR 
INTERESTS. BUT, AR A BRTT.T.TANT POLITICIAN FROM ARKANSAS 
SAID "I DON'T THINK IT IS THE PROPER FUNCTION OF THE 
MILITARY TO DETERMINE OR DECISIVELY INFLUENCE OUR NATIONAL 

pRioxrriisS" . 

THE IMPORTANCE, URGENCY AND THE NEED TO SOLVE THE MATTER 

IN YOUR HANDS NOW, WAS WELL TAKEN BY THE FORMES DIRECTOR OF 

LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN AFFAIRS ON THiS NATIONAL 

SECURITY COUNCTT. FROM 1977 TO 1981. ROBERT PASTOR. HE WROTE: 

"THE UNITED STATES WILL HAVE TAKEN THE FIRST STEP OUT 
Of THE LATIN AMERICAN WHIRLPOOL WJTRW XT DEMONSTRATES THE 
POLITICAL WILL AND THE RESPECT NECESSARY TO RESOLVE THE 
STATUS ISSUE WITH THE PEOPLE OF PUERTO RICO" 
(WHIRLPOOL: U.S. FUREIHG POLICY TOWARD LATTN AWRPTCA »ND 
THE CARIDDEAN. (P. 220). 

WE DELIEVE THAT MR. PASTOR'S STATEMENT SHOULD BE THE 
POLICY OF THIS ADMIN iSXKAXAON AND THIS CONGRESS, WRTT.R YOU 
ARE IN OFFTCF. AND CAN MAKE IT A LEGACY FOR OUR COUNTRIES AND 
THE HEMISPHERE. 



150 



-4- 



(2) IF WE ARE TO ACHIEVE TEE GOAL REQUIRED BY THE 
DTTMOCRATTC PARTY PLATFORM THAT SUCH PROCESS SHOULD BE 
IMPLEMENTED "IN CONCERT" WITH CONGRESS, U. CON. RES. 94 
SHOULD BE AMENDED TO ADD ITEMS TEAT SHOULD CORRESPOND TO 
TEXT BASED ON SECTIONS 5, 6, AND 7 OP H. R. 4765 OF THE 
10 let. CONGRESS, 2d. 6ES6I0N, THUS TREATING THE PETITION OF 
NOVEMBER 14 THROUGH THE PROCESS APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY BY THE 
HOUSE IN 1990. 

(3) THERE IS SOMETHING ELSE THAT CANNOT BE ICNORED. WE 
HAVE ALWAYS SUPPORTED THE RIGHT OF ALL PUERTO RICANS TO 
PARTICIPATED IN ALL PLEBISCITES, KEFEREHDUMS OR ANY PROCESS 
WHERE TRF. FUTtfRK OF PUERTO RICO IS AT STAKE. WE CANNOT 
DISCRIMINATE AGAINST OUR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT LIVING IN PUERTO 
RICO TODAY. CONGRESS CAN LEGISLATE, IF IT WANTS TO. AND 
PROVIDE FOR THE PARTICIPATION TW ANY PROCESS, UNDER U.S. OR 
PUERTO RICO ' S LAW WHERE Tgg STATUS OF PUERTO RICO IS BEING 
VOTED UPON. 

(4) WE ARE AWARE TEAT IN THE DECISION MARTNG PROCESS TO 
COOTmTNATED A POLICY FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION, ON THE INSULAR 
AREAS, MANY PLAYERS WILL HAVE THEIR INPUT. THAT IS THE WAY 
IT SHOULD BE. FOR THAT REASON A CABINET COUNCIL ON INSULAR 
AFFAIRS SHOULD RR CREATED AT THE WHITE HOUSE LEVEL. H. R. 
6117 OF THE 102nd. CONGRESS PROVIDES FOR A GOOD MODEL THAT 
CAN BE CREATED. 



151 

Mr. de Lugo. I want to note the Committee has been joined by 
the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Congressman Austin Murphy, a 
valued member of this Committee and the Full Committee and one 
who is very knowledgeable on insular areas. He has lived and 
worked in my district and was a constituent of mine for many 
years when I was in the local legislature. 

Senator McClintock-Hernandez, the resolution would declare 
that the people of Puerto Rico have the right to decide the island's 
political status. Should the Congress pass it? 

Mr. McClintock-Hernandez. There is not the same sense of ur- 
gency this time around as we believe there was back in 1979 for 
the Moynihan-Corrado resolution. 

If no hidden messages are included by amendment into the reso- 
lution, it doesn't create any problems, but I tend to agree both with 
the Secretary of State and with the Resident Commissioner that it 
is really up to us to take up the issue at this time. 

I was involved between 1989 and 1991 in the previous process. 
I think we got the message clear from Congress that it is really up 
to the people of Puerto Rico to get the ball rolling first. I think that 
was the mandate to the people in the 1991 referendum in Puerto 
Rico which we won by a landslide. It was a mandate for the people 
in the 1992 elections, and it is the way that the majority party is 
acting in Puerto Rico in the legislature at this time. 

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that the simple fact that 
Congressman Serrano has drafted and submitted his resolution 
and provoked this open discussion of issues that need to be dis- 
cussed is an extremely important part of the process, perhaps even 
more important than the approval of the resolution itself. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Senator, what will the implications for plebiscite 
and statehood be if this resolution is blocked? 

Mr. McClintock-Hernandez. It would provide hay for our oppo- 
nents in Puerto Rico to try to create the impression that Congress 
has opposed approving this resolution because they are not willing 
to abide by the will of the people and they are not willing to re- 
spond to what the people in Puerto Rico want. 

I think that the amount of the mines that you find in the harbor 
on the way to passage for this resolution are so many and are so 
not related to the political status of Puerto Rico that it would be 
very unfair to color it that way. It would definitely provide people 
in Puerto Rico who oppose statehood the opportunity to say the 
Serrano Resolution was either defeated or not approved because 
Congress wants to keep things as they are — they are in favor of 
commonwealth. That is the spiel that has been sold so many times 
in the past, and the people of Puerto Rico little by little are accept- 
ing less every time. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Senator Rigau, you made an excellent points about 
what should be done to resolve this issue which, which you quote 
Senator Moynihan as saying, seems to be intractable. You also 
quoted Senator Moynihan's explanation as to why Congress did not 
act between 1989 and 1991, as being reluctance to pre-commit to 
the statehood. 

My question is this: Could Congress morally do anything less 
than act on implementing statehood if it passed this resolution and 
statehood was the clear choice of the people of Puerto Rico? 



152 

Mr. Rigau. It seems American troops walked into Puerto Rico, 
Americans telling the people of Puerto Rico that they arrived there 
to bring the blessings of liberty and democracy. 

I would think that Puerto Ricans are entitled to be told straight, 
either now or after the referendum. The only problem is if it is 
after the referendum you might not have the problem because 
statehood might not win and I don't think it is going to win. That 
is why I always prefer to be before. 

But, in any case, I believe that the people of Puerto Rico should 
be told the truth one way or the other, with the condition — I am 
not saying, for example, that if statehood wins — I know Governor 
Romero mentioned that he thinks it is going to take three years. 
Well, then Congress should say so. 

What is totally unacceptable is to maintain the people of Puerto 
Rico in the shallows at the mercy of whatever the local politicians 
in Puerto Rico want to say, selling pie in the sky. I think the most 
important thing that Congress can do is to call it as it is. 

I respect the majority rule of the people from Puerto Rico. I don't 
have that problem. I have my preference. But what I think is com- 
pletely unacceptable is the lip service that every American politi- 
cian says that we are going to respect whatever you decide and 
then the thing stays in committees. 

Mr. DE Lugo. I have one final question I would like to ask and 
then we will move on because we have a lot of other Members here 
and other witnesses. 

Senator Rigau, would you explain your vision of free association 
and how it is different? 

Mr. Rigau. I have no problems in doing that, although I came 
here to discuss the process, and not substance. But I have no prob- 
lems in doing that. 

At this stage, I will answer your question, but I don't think that 
at this stage we should engage ourselves in the content of formaliz- 
ing it because Congress is not defining formulas. At this stage of 
the game what we are seeking is some sort of commitment from ev- 
erybody to put on a process that will lead the people of Puerto Rico 
and the U.S. Government toward solving this intractable problem. 

Basically answering your question 

Mr. DE LUGO. I think you make a good point. I will withdraw the 
question. 

Mr. Rigau. I am not afraid of venturing into that debate, but the 
minute I walk into the debate of what is better and how it should 
be done, then we put aside the other thing. What we are doing is, 
we fall prey of those who don't want to solve the problem. 

Mr. DE LUGO. I withdraw my question. 

Let me recognize Mr. Romero. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Welcome. Good afternoon. I really don't 
have any questions for Senator McClintock. He is what you would 
call a friendly witness, definitely. 

Mr. Rigau. So am I. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I do have a couple of questions, Senator 
Rigau, regarding a statement in your testimony as to the crippling 
by Congress of the Section 936. You recognize, different from other 
witnesses who support commonwealth, that there is no fiscal au- 
tonomy in Puerto Rico. 



153 

Mr. Rigau. I recognize the fact that Congress is legislating uni- 
laterally for Puerto Rico. That is one of the main reasons why I am 
in politics, if not the main reason. For me, it is unacceptable that 
Congress legislate unilaterally for Puerto Rico, whether it is 
through the territorial clause or whether it is through the compact. 
In either case, I don't agree to giving consent to Congress to run 
our lives. One partner cannot run the other partner any way he 
wants. To take the territorial clause as to how this case decides, 
that is unacceptable. 

Now there is a disagreement among the circuits. The whole thing 
is up in the air. I think that Congress has the political responsibil- 
ity. Any change should be agreed by both sides. It affects the econ- 
omy in Puerto Rico and for me that is a unilateral change of our 
conditions. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Here again I hear this 300,000. 
Mr. Rigau. Or 100,000. Regardless of the number — some, many. 
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. There is no evidence of any numbers at 
all. There is no evidence that any one will leave. That is what they 
say. It is scare tactics. 

For the people of Puerto Rico, isn't it basically whether we 
should remain as citizens or not? 

Mr. Rigau. No, that is not the issue. The citizenship relationship 
is a personal relationship. The issue is the relationship of the body 
politic of Puerto Rico with the body politic of the United States. 
The citizenship is one of the items on the agenda. 

Again, I have no problems in entering into this conversation with 
you and answer any questions you might have, but I want to re- 
mind you that my main objective here is to try to see that this 
Committee helps to engage the House, the Senate, and executive 
branch into facing the reality of the established parliament in 
Puerto Rico. I have no problems in answering the questions, but I 
don't want to sidetrack my main objective. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Is it unless we take the first step in Puer- 
to Rico we will not force the Congress to do it? 

Mr. Rigau. That is a possibility. That is why we are going to par- 
ticipate. I think the best way would have been a commitment by 
Congress. That did not function for many reasons and we are not 
going to now go into historical interpretation. But the reality is 
that that did not function and the plebiscite, even with all its de- 
fects, is a process where we can go and get a mandate. 

Now, once we get the mandate in Puerto Rico, we have to do 
something with it, something that the law does not provide. Be- 
cause the law now doesn't have a commitment, doesn't have any 
funds allocated. If Mr. McClintock and his party decide not to enact 
the legislation, we will have no formal process of trying to get that 
mandate into a reality. So I think that is why it is important to 
make a reality the mandate of the people of Puerto Rico, that I be- 
lieve is a sense of the Congress should be enacted here. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. What I see behind all your statements 
here is that for some reason or other you are trying to take Puerto 
Rico out of the political process. This is a political process. The only 
solutions are political. 

So if statehood wins, which we believe is going to happen, then 
we will take care of that in Congress. If commonwealth wins, which 



154 

I don't think is going to happen, then you have your campaign for 
1996 to win and then implement it. Because you cannot expect 
some people who don't believe in what you are proposing to imple- 
ment it for you and to do the job for you because it is not going 
to happen. 

So, the only way to do that is with political reality. The same 
thing that happened in 1967 when we had the plebiscite, there is 
no commitment to do anything about statehood once it happened. 
So we have to move ourselves, the statehooders, and the ones who 
believe in commonwealth have to move themselves. Nobody is 
going to move for you. 

There is a feeling that I sometime feel frustrated when I see that 
so many people from Puerto Rico think that somebody else has to 
do something. We won't achieve anything until we do the things. 
Now, at least that would take care of our problem. You take care 
of your problem. We are just going to consult and let the people say 
what they want. 

If that ever happened, what you dream is going to happen, it 
would be a very comfortable position for the next three years, po- 
litically, very, very comfortable. There is no problem with that. You 
have the opportunity. 

Mr. RlGAU. I agree with you in two aspects. It is a political proc- 
ess. And I think the people of Puerto Rico do not have to wait for 
Congress. I agree with you. Now, nevertheless, it is a political proc- 
ess where two parties are involved, Puerto Rico and the United 
States. It is a political process that we cannot force Congress to do 
something. We can convince them. 

I think the Serrano Resolution is in a way a measure, if we ap- 
prove this measure, whoever wins can come to Congress and tell 
them, look, there is a sense of the Congress here, you just enacted, 
not a Congress in 1979, not President Carter, but there is a sense 
of the Congress enacted a few months ago saying you are going to 
tell the people of Puerto Rico yes or no and why. 

That doesn't mean we are seeking the United States to solve our 
problems. We have to do our job, as you said, and I agree with you 
completely. That doesn't mean that if Congress doesn't move we 
are not going to move. We should move in Puerto Rico. 

What I am saying is that when we come to Washington, if this 
sense of the Congress resolution is now enacted and approved, who- 
ever wins can come here and tell them, look this is only a few 
months old. As you said, whoever wins will try to move forward his 
different status option. I want to make perfectly clear that I will 
respect whatever the decision of the people of Puerto Rico is. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I think we are all in that position, the re- 
spect I mean. But to implement it is something different. 

Mr. RlGAU. But I am not going to put any mines in the road. I 
am going to respect them and I think we should not interfere in 
the process of allowing them, whoever wins, to come to Congress 
and to tell Congress and to get the political branches of the United 
States to respond to the people of Puerto Rico or to any other of 
the affiliated islands in the same situation. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I can tell you from my short experience 
here in Congress, whether these resolutions are passed by Con- 
gress or not, I have no doubt that whatever the will of the people 



155 

of Puerto Rico — particularly the will of the people to move for state- 
hood — there is a very, very, very good reception here in Congress 
for it. There is no doubt about that. 

Mr. RlGAU. Let's hope you are not eliminated, then, because that 
was not the case in the past. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It has been my experience, more so every 
day. 

Mr. de Lugo. The gentleman from Guam. 

Mr. Underwood. No questions. 

Mr. DE Lugo. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Murphy. 

Mr. Murphy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

As one who comes from Pennsylvania and has achieved some dis- 
tance from our great neighbor and friends in Puerto Rico, I wanted 
to say to you, Senator, that I was formerly a Senator from the 
State of Pennsylvania. I might say in that regard oftentimes in the 
State legislature we felt the Federal Government also was passing 
a lot of laws we had nothing to say about. 

I don't suppose Puerto Rico is really in any different situation 
from any of the other 50 States because what we pass here is in- 
tended to assist and help your States and in your case the Com- 
monwealth. 

I feel as an individual Member of this Congress I would like to 
do for all Americans in Puerto Rico what our Americans in Puerto 
Rico would like us to do. I would like you to determine the political 
status, the political level that you would prefer. I do have some 
fear, perhaps more than Congressman Barcelo, that we may not be 
as rapid here in Congress to respond to your majority. 

I was one of the advocates a few years ago, as my Chairman 
knows, to delineate a non-retractable type of resolution that would 
indicate if you had a plebiscite that Congress would be bound by 
the result. We, were then, of course, alternately accused that if we 
passed such a plebiscite and promised statehood it would aid the 
statehood party and if we promised commonwealth status and de- 
fined what it would be we would be helping the commonwealth 
party and that maybe whatever we did would help the independ- 
ence movement. So, it is really a catch-22, in my view. 

If you decide you would like to be a State, you may be assured 
that Murphy of Pennsylvania will vote for statehood. If you decide 
otherwise, I may be a little disappointed, but I will abide by that. 

The reason I say disappointed is I believe my fellow Americans 
in Puerto Rico should have the same status as the Americans in 
Alaska or Pennsylvania or anywhere else. That is my own personal 
opinion. 

Let me ask both of you, what happens if Congress does not im- 
mediately respond to your plebiscite? You are going to have it in 
November, right? 
Mr. McClintock. November 14. 

Mr. Murphy. And following that, if both of you are quite con- 
fident in the outcome, as it should be in politics, but what happens 
if Congress fails to respond in 1994 to your plebiscite? How does 
that— I don't want anything to adversely affect our, what I feel has 
been great association for almost 100 years. What happens? 

Mr. McClintock. When we were considering the plebiscite law, 
Mr. Rigau's party proposed a fast track request to Congress which 



156 

would give Congress, according to the two versions, six months or 
13 months to respond to Puerto Rico's petition for political status 
change based on the referendum results. 

Mr. Murphy. Or else. 

Mr. McClintock. Or else nothing. Colonies cannot say or else. 

Mr. Murphy. It would void the plebiscite. 

Mr. McClintock. Supposedly it would void the plebiscite. To put 
such a fast track requirement is really unfair on statehood. If that 
fast track requirement of 13 months had been in place for the other 
37 States, only Illinois would have been admitted into the Union, 
because only Illinois took 11 months to get into the Union after 
their first vote. Every other territory took a longer period of time. 
New Mexico took 65 years. Illinois, 11 months. All the other ones 
were somewhere in between. But the normal process to be admitted 
into the Union is not the fast track process. It is not the one where 
Congress responds within a year or within a year and a half. It 
usually takes longer than that. 

Now, when the territory senses that Congress is dragging its 
feet, as it has sensed that in the past, there is a fast track proce- 
dure that history provides, it is called the Tennessee Plan. It is a 
plan that Tennessee put into place back in the late 1790s and 
which six other territories used after that with great success. And 
it is after they have given Congress a chance to react and they 
have not, Tennessee and other territories then held congressional 
elections and elected their congressional delegation and sent them 
to knock on the doors of Congress, and in all those cases it acceler- 
ated the process. It gave a certain amount of fast track to the ad- 
mission process. 

So history already provides Puerto Rico with a fast track proce- 
dure that does not require creating new and different and distinct 
procedures. 

Mr. Murphy. You will send us up five Romero-Barcelos, five all 
at once? 

Mr. McClintock. No, we would be sending seven in addition 
to 

Mr. Murphy. Seven. 

Mr. Rigau. There are not seven like him. 

Mr. Murphy. Not seven like him. 

Mr. Rigau. That would be an overdose. 

Mr. de Lugo. Is that a promise or a threat? 

Mr. Murphy. Sounds like a threat to me, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. McClintock. We would be sending him and somebody else 
to the upper body and we would be sending six people here, eight 
in total. 

Mr. Rigau. Mr. Murphy, concerning your question and your 
statement, I should state the following. The law providing for the 
plebiscite in its Statement of Motives states that, and I quote, "The 
exercise of the inalienable right of Puerto Rico to self-determination 
to vote is a right internationally recognized," et cetera. 

That was approved by the majority party that Mr. Romero and 
Mr. McClintock belongs. That is not the language you would use 
for the people of Pennsylvania. It is language when you talk of a 
country. 



157 

See, Puerto Rico is not a piece of land with U.S. citizens. Puerto 
Rico is a country. It is a nation. Miss Universe was not elected rep- 
resenting the United States, she was representing Puerto Rico in 
a contest of other nations. We compete internationally as a nation. 

Now, the problem here is that the rules that should be made 
have to respect both the American constitutional system and the 
international community, which the United States is a member of 
and abides by, it's true. So that is why when you consider the case 
of Puerto Rico, you have to consider it from both points of view, 
from the point of view of the American system and the point of 
view of the international community. 

Only if we find solutions, be it in statehood, as an option, be it 
independence, or as an association of countries, which is our, what 
we call in English "commonwealth," which is much better in Span- 
ish, it should be a free associated state in English, but we have to 
meet both rules in the process, in all the process. 

Mr. Murphy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. de Lugo. I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and at 
this time let me recognize the gentleman from New York, who is 
the author of the resolution, for any questions or any comments 
that he would like to make at this time. 

Mr. Serrano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Just, first of all, a couple of clarifications. Both of you, Senators, 
were part of the committee that put the bill together. 

Mr. RlGAU. That is correct. 

Mr. McClintock. Correct. 

Mr. Serrano. It was my understanding that whatever option 
won would become the petition of the legislature in Puerto Rico to 
Congress. But that is not what I heard from the Resident Commis- 
sioner this afternoon. 

Mr. Rigau. That is the way it is. In the Statement of Motives it 
says by virtue of the first amendment of the Constitution of the 
United States, the American citizens, residents in Puerto Rico, 
have a right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for 
a redress of grievances. 

If the people of Puerto Rico are going to give a mandate request- 
ing a redress of grievances to the U.S. Government, it has to be to 
Congress and to the President. 

Mr. McClintock. Yes, Congressman, what happens is the follow- 
ing: Originally, the bill that was filed by Governor Rossello in the 
legislature provided for the creation of a negotiating committee 
that would be constituted by members of the party representing 
the formula that won the plebiscite after the plebiscite. During the 
hearings, it was made clear to us by members of the opposition 
parties that the six to one majority that the opposition party has 
in Puerto Rico's Supreme Court, five of whose members normally 
vote in a very partisan fashion, would declare the plebiscite law 
unconstitutional if we provided for mechanisms and funds after the 
plebiscite process to provoke a change in Puerto Rico's political sta- 
tus. 

To avoid that Jurassic juridical mine field, we chose to eliminate, 
against our own wishes, every aspect in the bill which could be 
grabbed by these dinosaurs in the Supreme Court, and I say it in 
a joking fashion, to try to grab on to the bill and bring it down and 



76-006 0-94-6 



158 

declare it unconstitutional. So the bill that was enacted is not ex- 
actly as how we would have preferred for it to be enacted. 

And then we are in the difficult situation that the opposition tells 
us if you do this, the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitu- 
tional. So when we take it out they say, you see, the bill doesn't 
have teeth in it. We pulled the teeth out of the bill precisely to 
avoid constitutional problems, although we would have preferred 
for the teeth to be in there. 

Mr. Serrano. I have tried to stay on the subject of the resolu- 
tion, although I have heard today, once again, that when it comes 
to the island, it is almost impossible to do. Whatever item is placed 
on the table will be a discussion of the seven available formulas. 
It might be eight. 

Mr. McClintock. You are not surprised. 

Mr. Serrano. I am slightly surprised at what I have caused. I 
thought it was a simple resolution, really. 

So what you are telling me, then, is that 

Mr. de Lugo. You are only the father of this. 

Mr. Serrano. It is amazing what sometimes you can do without 
realizing it. History will have to determine how much I knew was 
going to happen. 

So what you are telling me, just for my clarification again, is that 
if one of the two formulas not represented in the governing party 
wins, then the people we may recognize as having self-determina- 
tion rights will not have any legal means within the island's gov- 
ernment to self determine here in Congress? 

Mr. McClintock. Yes, they would. 

Mr. Serrano. They would? 

Mr. McClintock. If in 1990 we had held a plebiscite in Puerto 
Rico and the statehood party was in the minority and we had won 
that plebiscite, statehood by 

Mr. Serrano. In all respects it would have been sanctioned by 
Congress. 

Mr. McClintock. A nonsanctioned plebiscite had been held and 
we would have won that plebiscite, statehood would have won that 
plebiscite, I can assure you that the statehood party would have 
funded a process here in Washington to get Congress to get the ball 
rolling on statehood. 

We would have not required public funds. We would have en- 
joyed having public funds if we could, but we would have not re- 
quired it, and the momentum that that vote would have given us 
would have carried us pretty far. It would also have provided for 
us to win the 1992 elections if we started that process. 

If commonwealth or independence won the 1993 plebiscite, which 
we don't envision that to happen, the intrinsic value of the result 
itself will be such that they could set up shop here in Washington 
and get, try to get things rolling. The problem is that in the case 
of commonwealth, what would they come and ask for and reason- 
ably expect to get approved? Because they have been for 41 years 
trying to get changes in the commonwealth and they have not been 
able to get one single change in commonwealth status. 

Mr. RlGAU. Petition is a petition is a petition, and the Statement 
of Motives starts by mentioning that this is a petition. The man- 
date of the plebiscite is a petition to the U.S. Government. 



159 

Now, the problem here is that 50 percent of the people in the ma- 
jority party in Puerto Rico were afraid of losing the plebiscite, 
therefore, they did not provide for a process after the plebiscite. 
And, also, that it shows because they don't provide for an absolute 
minority, they leave it open for a plurality. The other 50 percent 
is afraid of winning it because they are not willing to seek a fast 
track. They don't want to know from Congress an answer. 

The problem here is we are going to have an exercise in Puerto 
Rico. What is Congress, that it has been duly notified, is going to 
do? Nothing? Or at least approve a sense of the Congress, which 
is what you are seeking, and which I think the people of Puerto 
Rico should congratulate you immensely. 

You know you were born in Mayaguez; I was born in Boston. I 
am a Senator in Puerto Rico and you are a Member of the House 
in the United States. 

Mr. Serrano. You should not be allowed to vote in that plebi- 
scite. 

Mr. RlGAU. You see? You see? But we are both equally, equally, 
Puerto Ricans. 

Mr. Serrano. Just one quick question on this and then a quick 
other comment. 

Senator Rigau, on a personal level, do you feel that Governor 
Rossello is committed to bringing in conversations before Congress 
any of the other two options if they should win? 

Mr. RlGAU. I would like to think yes. I have no reasons, and I 
have to be — I could attack Governor Rossello here and make some 
political points inside my party. You know, inside the parties they 
always love when you are attacking politicians of the other party, 
but I want to give Governor Rossello all the benefits of the doubt 
and I want to disagree with him in what we have to disagree and 
not attack him unnecessarily. And at this stage I don't think I 
should say that he will not respect the majority will of the people 
of Puerto Rico. 

Mr. Serrano. Just one last comment. Senator McClintock, you 
did mention your father, and trust me, those of us who are for the 
absentee or the nonresident vote are not against your father voting. 
What we have always said is in addition to American citizens, al- 
though if it was a really true and fair and just plebiscite, American 
citizenship would not be the basis for departure, but being that 
what it is, in addition to those American citizens who live in Puerto 
Rico, those of us that were born. So it has never been the intent 
of anyone that supports my position on the absentee vote. 

Mr. McClintock. I am aware of that. 

Mr. Rigau. Let me mention that section 3 of the bill unani- 
mously approved by this House provides for a nonresident Puerto 
Rican to vote. That is not a new thing. It was unanimously ap- 
proved by this House. 

Mr. McClintock. What I would like to mention is, when I men- 
tioned my father's case, I was not speaking as to your proposal nor, 
for example, to Senator Rigau's proposal in the legislature, I was 
talking about strict interpretation of international law. 

Strict interpretation of international law only provides for na- 
tionals to vote in a plebiscite. And the interpretation that Con- 
gressman Gutierrez has been giving, the strict interpretation of 



160 

international law, blind to this process, would be similar to the one 
that the bar association of Puerto Rico presented in their hearings 
in Puerto Rico when I presented my father's case. They said, your 
father would not be able to vote because he was not born in Puerto 
Rico. 

So in the case of strict interpretation of international law, people 
like my father, who have lived in Puerto Rico for many more years 
than I have, would not be entitled to vote because he is not a na- 
tional in the international, strict international sense of the word. 

Mr. RlGAU. Mr. Chairman, on this issue of international law, a 
national is someone born in a place or someone who is a son of a 
mother and a father born in that place residing abroad, or someone 
who voluntarily becomes part of that place. His father is a national 
of Puerto Rico because he married a Puerto Rican, he has Puerto 
Rican children, he has lived in Puerto Rico for I don't know how 
many years. How many years? 

Mr. McClintock. Forty-one years. 

Mr. RlGAU. Forty-one years. Where it says his father is not a na- 
tional of Puerto Rico, it is really denying the right of a person to 
really select a country as his patriate. And I think Puerto Rico, for 
Mr. McClintock's father, is his patriate, as it is for me. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I wanted to make a clarification of some- 
thing said by Mr. Rigau, that the bill that was approved unani- 
mously by the House in — 1990? 

Mr. de Lugo. 1990. October of 1990. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. 1990, said that they instructed the Puerto 
Ricans who did not live in Puerto Rico could vote. I would just 
merely authorize the parties in Puerto Rico, if they reach a consen- 
sus, to establish a system by which people who do not reside in 
Puerto Rico can vote. 

Mr. Rigau. I said provided for. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. But it is misleading in the statement and 
I wanted to make it accurate for the record. 

Mr. Serrano. See, he knew everybody was going to agree. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Well, the Chair certainly wants to thank these two 
young able Senators for their contributions here today and we have 
enjoyed the exchange. 

We have another fine panel coming forward at this time, Dr. Mir- 
iam J. Ramirez de Ferrer, President of Puerto Ricans in Civic Ac- 
tion; Carlos Gallisa, who is the Secretary General of the Puerto 
Rican Socialist Party; Benny Frankie Cerezo, who is the President 
of the Puerto Rican Statehood Forum, and an eminent attorney; 
and Arthur J. Guzman, co-chairman, IDEA of Puerto Rico. 

Let me welcome you all here today before this Committee. 

Each of you has been allotted a specific time to make your pres- 
entation. All statements, without objection, will be placed in the 
record at this point and you may proceed with summarizing, in the 
interest of time. Our first witness will be Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. 



161 

PANEL CONSISTING OF DR. MIRIAM J. RAMIREZ DE FERRER, 
PRESIDENT, PUERTO RICANS IN CIVIC ACTION; CARLOS 
GALLISA, SECRETARY GENERAL OF PUERTO RICAN SOCIAL- 
IST PARTY; BENNY FRANKIE CEREZO, PRESD3ENT, PUERTO 
RICAN STATEHOOD FORUM; AND ARTURO J. GUZMAN, CO- 
CHAntMAN, INSTITUTE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, EQUALITY, 
AND ADVANCEMENT OF PUERTO RICO (I.D.E.A. OF PUERTO 
RICO, INC.) 

STATEMENT OF DR. MIRIAM J. RAMHIEZ DE FERRER 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. 

I would like to open my statement saying our organization sup- 
ports the resolution being discussed here today and also supports 
the celebration of a plebiscite on November 14. However, we feel 
that the implementation of any process of self-determination in 
Puerto Rico must consider and address certain fundamental issues. 

First of all, all processes have mainly provided and focused on 
the participation of the three political parties in Puerto Rico leav- 
ing out the participation of citizen's groups. This is a serious mis- 
take. It gives the wrong impression that only those who vote with 
the New Progressive Party support statehood; that everyone who 
votes with the Popular Democratic Party supports commonwealth, 
and that everyone in the Independence Party supports independ- 
ence. 

The three political parties in Puerto Rico are embroiled daily in 
a constant bitter partisan dispute over every imaginable issue 
keeping the people divided and permanently involved in strong par- 
tisan discussion regardless of whether there are any elections at 
all. 

This aggressive partisan political environment overcomes the 
feelings of the voters who might end up more motivated to vote for 
the victory of his or her party and not for the real preference as 
to the final status of Puerto Rico. This bitter political antagonism 
between the members and followers of the different political parties 
when added to a process designed to force people to associate and 
identify with a specific party and its leaders in order to support a 
specific status option is a threat and danger to a true process of 
self-determination of the people of Puerto Rico. 

Second, the bill provides that each party define, at their whim, 
the definitions of their status option. This could impair the process 
and the result of the plebiscite. Right now although four months 
away, the leaders of the different political parties are claiming the 
same benefits for their options and refuting that they be used by 
the other parties to define their options. As a result, voters in 
Puerto Rico are faced with the Popular Party's definition of com- 
monwealth, which pretends to assure irrevocable permanent 
United States citizenship, permanent union with the United States, 
full participation in Federal programs, permanence of section 936, 
and many attributes of an independent republic, such as not hav- 
ing to pay Federal taxes. They also insist that their proposed sta- 
tus will be excluded from the territorial clause. 

The Independence Party assures United States citizenship, social 
security benefits, and some form of association to the United 
States, much to the chagrin of other pro-independence sectors. The 



162 

New Progressive Party is worried about convincing the voters of 
whether they will be able to speak Spanish and participate in 
world Olympics or international beauty contests. 

Senator Bennet Johnston summed up our concern the best way 
possible. He said: "What does the word 'independence' say about 
citizenship? About social security? About military bases? What does 
the word 'statehood' tell you about section 936? About the Spanish 
language? About Federal programs? And what does the word 'com- 
monwealth' tell you about sovereignty? About the permanence of 
the relationship? About citizenship? 

These are not extraneous details. They are the core issues dictat- 
ing the choice. A vote by the people of Puerto Rico without an un- 
derstanding of the meaning and consequences of their choice would 
be worse than meaningless. It would be mischievous with a lack of 
commitment by the Congress. 

Therefore, we insist that Congress has a moral obligation with 
its United States citizens of Puerto Rico to clarify what basic 
rights, as they appear in the U.S. Constitution, apply to each sta- 
tus option. We need to know if the United States citizenship, a per- 
manent union with the United States, full participation in the Fed- 
eral system and full United States constitutional rights can be 
guaranteed under commonwealth, statehood or independence. 

We strongly request that the language of H.Con.Res. 94 be 
amended to incorporate the definitions of these issues as estab- 
lished by the GAO report of June 1991. These important clarifica- 
tions will help educate the voters about what they are voting for 
in November. We also propose the first paragraph of H.Con.Res. 94 
be amended to add after the word Constitution: "while residing in 
the territory of Puerto Rico." 

However, it is not Congress or the people of Puerto Rico who up 
to now have controlled our right to self-determination, although not 
everyone is willing to admit that. It is one of the best kept secrets 
in town. Those that benefit from section 936 prefer to have Puerto 
Rico remain as a colony and as far as possible from becoming a 
State. 

Perhaps this congressional hearing should have been held at the 
board rooms of corporations whose power and control over our 
lives, destiny, and political processes have become evident and ob- 
vious during the last six months. They wish to make us believe 
they are concerned about our right to self-determination, but when 
we see them helping and defending the special tax treatment given 
to the rich corporations, it is clear to us our right to self-determina- 
tion is totally captive in this web of special interest. That is not the 
kind of help we need. 

We would like to see that some of the energy and effort used to 
defend section 936 be used to push Congress for a true process of 
self-determination and for equal treatment for our people in pro- 
grams such as Medicaid, Medicare, Aid to Dependent Children, and 
Social Security Supplemental Income. However, there is no way 
that Congress will consider treating us as equal while Fortune 500 
corporations do not pay taxes. 

Those of us who sincerely care about Puerto Rico must pool our 
efforts to achieve equal rights for our people, and not worry about 
the consequences to those companies who will have to pay taxes. 



163 

We also wish to add there is increased relevance on the issue of 
Puerto Rico at the United Nations, and in two days we will testify 
at the U.N. Decolonization Committee and uphold Resolution 1541 
XV, which recognizes statehood as an option. It is difficult for a 
pro-American organization to admit that the United States has sus- 
tained 3.5 million of its own citizens in Puerto Rico as a colony. 

The phenomenon of a colony in the twentieth century is of grow- 
ing concern to the international community. The idea of a colony 
system is inconceivable in times of liberty and self-determination. 
Under the guise of claiming that the issue of self-determination 
concerns only the people of Puerto Rico, the United States and 
Congress have neglected and ignored their moral obligation to ad- 
dress this problem adequately and provide all the necessary steps 
and efforts so that a true process of self-determination can take 
place. This includes a moral obligation of the United States to in- 
form its citizens in Puerto Rico what each of the options represent, 
and the formal pledge to accept the people's will. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you very much. 

[Prepared statement of Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer follows:] 




164 



PUERTORICANS IN CIVIC ACTION 

PUBKTOIUQUBNOS EN ACC30N CWDADANA 



Minim J Raniia <fc Fenw MD 



Hearings on Concurrent Resolution #94 
Natural Resources Committee 
July 13, 1993 

Testimony by: 
Miriam J. Ramirez de Ferrer MD 
President, Puerto Ricans in Civic Action 

Honorable Chairmen and members of this Committee: 

For the past nine years, our organization has come to 
Washington with great hope and faith that Congress would act 
on the issue of self determination for the United States 
Citizens in Puerto Rico. 

With great efforts and sacrifices, we brought petitions, 
we visited with many members of Congress, with many staff 
members, and with many Administration officials. We have 
held seminars and we have also testified in all hearings 
held regarding Puerto Rico. 

On July 4th, 1993, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed a 
bill to provide for a plebiscite on the status of Puerto 
Rico on November 14,1993. This was the main element of the 
platform of the present governing party during the last 
elections. This issue was motivated by the suggestion of 
certain members of Congress, that the government of Puerto 
Rico take the initiative to hold a status plebiscite. 

This will be the third time within the last 18 months that 
the will of the people regarding their status preference is 
gaged. In the 1991 referendum the people of P.R- clearly and 
overwhelmingly expressed their rejection of separation from 
the United states, and reaffirmed their United States 
citizenship with its corresponding rights, duties and 
obligations. 

Then, in the last general elections, the New Progressive 
Party, with a promise to achieve statehood, clearly won two 
thirds of all seats in the Legislature, most Municipalities, 
the Governor's seat and Resident Commisioner. 

We feel that the implementation of the process of self 
determination in Puerto Rleo must consider and address 
certain fundamental Issues. 

FIRST OF Uili, the processes have mainly provided and focused 
on the participation of the three political parties in P.R. 
leaving out the participation of citizen's groups. 



165 



-3- 
July 13, 1993 - Natural Resources Committee 
Hearings on Concurrent Resolution #94 
Testimony by: Miriam J.Ramirez de Ferrer MD, 



This is a serious mistake. It forces people in Puerto 
Rico, Congress and others in the U.S. to assume that only 
those who vote for the New Progressive Party support state- 
hood, that everyone in the Popular Democratic Party supports 
commonwealth, or that people who vote for the Independence 
party only believe in independence. 

The three political parties are embroiled daily in a 
constant bitter partisan fight, over every imaginable issue, 
keeping the people in Puerto Rico divided and permanently 
involved in strong partisan discussion, regardless of the 
date of the elections. 

This aggressive partisan political environment and strug- 
gle overcomes the feelings of the voters who might end up 
voting for the victory of his or her particular party and 
not for his real preference as to the final status of P.R. 

This bitter partisan division between the members and 
followers of the different political parties, when added to 
a process which is designed to force people to associate and 
identify with a specific party and its leaders in order to 
support and approve a specific status option is a threat and 
danger to a true process of self determination of the people 
of Puerto Rico. 

The SECOND serious concern we have is that if you depend 
only on each political party to define, at their whim, the 
definitions of each status option, it could impair the 
process and the result of the plebiscite. 

We have stressed our concern on this issue strongly during 
all status hearings where we have participated. 

At the present time, four months away from the plebiscite, 
the leaders of the different political parties are claiming 
the same benefits for each of their options and refuting 
that they belong to the other options. 

The voters in Puerto Rico are being faced with the Popular 
Party's definition of commonwealth which pretends to assure 
irrevocable permanent United States citizenship, permanent 
union with the United States, full participation in Federal 
Programs, permanence of Section 936, and many attributes of 
an independent republic such as not having to pay United 
States taxes. This same party approved unanimously that 
their proposed relationship with the United States will be 
excluded from the Territorial Clause of the United States 
Constitution. 






166 



-3- 

July 13, 1993 - Natural Resources Committee 
Hearings on Concurrent Resolution #94 
Testimony by: Miriam J.Ramirez de Ferrer MD, 



The Independence Party assures United States citizenship, 
Social Security benefits and some form of association to the 
United States, much to the chagrin of other pro-independence 
sectors. 

The statehooders, worry more about convincing the voters 
on whether they will be able to speak Spanish and partici- 
pate in World Olympics or International beauty contests. 

Senator Senett Johnston's words on January 23,1991, as 
they appear in the Congressional Record, Vol. 137, Ho. 13: 
sums up our concern in the best way possible: 

" What does the word "independence say about citizen- 
ship; about Social Security; about military bases? What 
does the word "statehood" tell you about Section 936; 
about the Spanish language; about Federal programs? And 
what does the word " commonwealth ■ tell you about 
sovereignty ; about the permanence of the relationsnip; 
about citizenship? 

These are not extraneous details. These are the core 
issues which dictate the choice. A vote by the people 
of Puerto Rico without an understanding of the meaning 
and consequences of their choice would be worse than 
meaningless . It would be mischievous with a lack of 
commitment by the Congress." 

Therefore, we insist that Congress has a moral obligation 
with the United States citizens in Puerto Rico to clarify 
what basic rights, as they appear in the United States 
Constitution, apply to each status option. 

Congress must clarify and affirm how the following items 
are affected by each status option. We cannot depend on the 
local political parties of Puerto Rico to define how the 
United States Constitution applies to each status option. 
Prior to our vote. We need to know if 

THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP; A PERMANENT UNION WITH THE 
UNITE D STAT ES; POLL PARTICIPATION IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM; 
FULL UNITED STATES CON S T I T U T IO N A L RIGHTS;.... are guaranteed 
under Commonwealth, Statehood, and Independence. 

These issues have already bean clearly addressed, studied, 
and discussed by the General Accounting Office report of 
June 1991, " REPORT TO THE RANKING MXNORITT MEMBER, COMMIT- 
TEE DM INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS , BOUSE OF REPRESENTA- 
TIVES, U.S. INSULAR AREAS: APPLICABILITY OF RELEVANT PROVT- 
8I0HS OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION . • 



167 



-4- 

July 13, 1993 - Natural Resources Committee 
Hearings on Concurrent Resolution #94 
Testimony by: Miriam J. Ramirez de Ferrer MD, 



We strongly request that the language of House Concurent 
Resolution #94, which is being discussed here, be amended to 
incorporate the definitions of these issues as established 
by the GAO report of June 1991. These important clarifica- 
tions will help the United States citizens in Puerto Rico 
know what they are voting for in November. 

We also propose that the First Paragraph of CR#94 be 
ammended >o add after the word Constitution: " while resid- 
ing in the territory of Puerto Rico." 

Our experiences these years have taught us that it is not 
really Congress or the people of Puerto Rico who up te now 
have controlled our right to self determination. Our future 
and the possibility of self determination depends on the 
economic interests of the Fortune 500 corporations who 
benefit from the multimillionaire tax expenditure called 
Section 936. Everyone should realize that the right to self 
determination of the people of Puerto Rico is totally 
captive in this web of special interests. 

But not everyone is innocent and honest about this issue. 
It is the best kept secret in town that it is in the best 
interests of those who benefit from Section 936 that Puerto 
Rico remain as a colony, and, of course, as far as possible 
from statehood, which would eliminate their tax haven. 

So, why do some people up here spend a lot of effort to 
give the impression that they are concerned about the self 
determination of the people of Puerto Rico while at the 3ame 
time help and protect these Fortune 500 corporations whose 
interests are precisely threatened by a process of self 
determination for our people? 

If anyone here in Congress is honestly concerned about the 
people of Puerto Rico, what we urgently need is another kind 
of help. What we would like to see is that some of the 
energy and effort used to defend Section 936 be used to push 
Congress for a true process of self determination and for 
equal treatment for our people in programs such as Medicaid, 
Medicare, Aid to Dependent Children, and Social Security 
Suplemental Income. 

Our right to self determination is webbed right into this 
complete scenario. There is no way Congress will even 
consider treating us as equal while Section 936 Fortune 500 
corporations are not paying taxes to the Federal government. 
Those of us who sincerely care about P.R. must pool our 
efforts to achieve equal rights for our people, even if some 
Fortune 500 companies will have to pay taxes. 



168 



-5- 

July 13, 1993 - Natural Resources Committee 
Hearings on Concurrent Resolution #94 
Testimony by: Miriam J. Ramirez de Ferrer MD, 



Perhaps these Congressional hearings or any others regard- 
ing the issue of self determination for the United States 
citizens in Puerto Rico should be held in the Board Rooms of 
the Fortune 500 corporations who benefit from Section 936 
and whose power and control over our lives and final destiny 
has become very evident and obvious during the last six 
months . 

The phenomenon of a colony in the twentieth century, no 
matter how adorned, is of growing concern to the Interna- 
tional Community. The idea of a colony is inconceivable in 
times of liberty and in times of self determination. 

There is increased relevance on the issue of Puerto Rico 
at the United Nations and in two days, we will testify at 
the UN Decolonization Committee Hearings and uphold Resolu- 
tion 1541 XV, which recognizes statehood as a status option. 
It is difficult for a pro-American organization to appear 
before said committee and admit that the United States has 
sustained 3.5 million of its own United States citizens in 
Puerto Rico as a colony. 

Under the guise of claiming that the issue of self deter- 
mination concerns only the people of Puerto Rico, the United 
States and Congress have neglected and ignored their moral 
obligation to address this issue adequately and provide all 
the necessary steps and efforts so that the process of self 
determination be a true one. This includes the moral obliga- 
tion of the United States to inform its United States 
citizens in Puerto Rico what each of the options represent, 
and the formal pledge to accept the people's will. 



169 

Mr. DE Lugo. The next witness is the Secretary General of the 
Puerto Rican Socialist Party, Carlos Gallisa. 

STATEMENT OF CARLOS GALLISA 

Mr. Gallisa. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I 
must begin by confessing that I have my doubts over the purposes 
of the resolution presented by Congressman Serrano. I do not be- 
lieve the resolution is just directed to express the sense of Con- 
gress. If this were the case, we would have to ask what this expres- 
sion by Congress could resolve? 

We Puerto Ricans are tired of hearing from the United States 
Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, the Department of State and 
from practically everybody in Washington that they favor the right 
to self-determination of the Puerto Rican people. 

From President Eisenhower in his famous 1953 message to the 
United Nations in which he stated that independence would be 
granted by the United States if the Puerto Rican people were to 
ask for it, to George Bush, they have all told us that they respect 
the will of the people of Puerto Rico and that they are in favor of 
self-determination for the Puerto Rican people. 

Yet, history has been very different. The facts contradict the 
words. All the expressions regarding Puerto Rico's self-determina- 
tion have been pure rhetoric. Under President Carter, the United 
States Senate approved a similar resolution to this one. Former 
Resident Commissioner Baltasar Corrada del Rio also presented to 
this Committee a resolution to the same effect and nothing has 
happened to make us see that Congress or the White House have 
done anything to guarantee and ensure our right to self-determina- 
tion. 

On the contrary, as recently as 1991, the U.S. Congress closed 
the doors on all discussions on Puerto Rico when it refused to de- 
fine a policy to decolonize Puerto Rico. In the United Nations, the 
United States Government has consistently blocked every effort of 
the decolonization committee to guarantee the right of self-deter- 
mination to the Puerto Rican people. In fact, for 40 years the Unit- 
ed States Government has been telling the United Nations that the 
Puerto Rican people exercised its right to self-determination in 
1952 with the creation of the so-called Free Associated State, 
wrongfully translated to commonwealth. 

Given the history, what is the purpose of this resolution? From 
its text and the press release that accompanied it last December, 
we conclude this resolution is closely related to a so-called plebi- 
scite that will be held next November in Puerto Rico. If the idea 
is to imply that the Puerto Rican people will be exercising its right 
to self-determination at that time, then I have to say that this reso- 
lution is deceiving. 

Not even the Puerto Rican Government, nor the opposition par- 
ties that will participate in the November event have dared to de- 
fine this event as being an exercise in self-determination. Among 
the participants themselves there are expressions to the effect that 
what is to occur in November does not even fulfill the requisites 
of a plebiscite, let alone a process of self-determination. 

The United States refuses to accept that it is a colonial power 
and Congress ignores its responsibility of facing the colonial prob- 



170 

lem of Puerto Rico. Under these circumstances, the resolution 
means very little or nothing, taking into consideration the colonial 
reality that has oppressed the Puerto Rican people for 98 years. 

Besides, the resolution is misleading because in its first "where- 
as," it signifies that the Puerto Rican problem is one of natural 
born citizens of the United States that do not enjoy all of the indi- 
vidual rights and liberties accorded to other American citizens 
under the United States Constitution. 

That is not the problem of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is not a civil 
rights issue under the United States Constitution. Our problem is 
one of colonialism, classical colonialism of a nation, and I repeat, 
a nation, which is Caribbean and Latin American, with 500 years 
of history, invaded, occupied and politically and economically domi- 
nated by the United States since 1898. 

When the resolution expresses the problem of Puerto Rico as one 
between first and second class United States citizens, it commits 
the serious error of not recognizing Puerto Rico as a nation. Mr. 
Serrano, in that respect, adopts the position of the statehooders of 
Puerto Rico which present the Puerto Rican problem as one of 
United States citizens that are discriminated against. 

Before being made United States citizens, we Puerto Ricans had 
already been invaded and had been a United States colony for 19 
years. The human civil rights problems we face is the result of colo- 
nialism and not of discrimination as United States citizens. In fact, 
we are United States citizens as a result of an imposition under the 
colonial rule. 

I recommend Congressman Serrano eliminate the first "whereas" 
and focus the case of Puerto Rico in its proper perspective, which 
is the colonial perspective. 

The United States Congress uses as an argument to maintain its 
rule and its supreme authority over the Puerto Rican people, the 
territorial clause of the United States Constitution, which gives 
Congress the authority to administrate and dispose of the terri- 
tories and other United States properties. While Congress main- 
tains the power and authority over Puerto Rico, no matter how you 
call the status of Puerto Rico, this status will be a colonial status. 

In this regard, I believe the contribution that Congressman 
Serrano should make in order to face the problem appropriately is 
to present a resolution for the United States, first, to dispose of the 
Puerto Rican territory; second, recognize the sovereignty of the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico; and, third, specifically Congress to surrender its 
authority under the territorial clause. Then, and only then, the 
Puerto Rican people can exercise its right to self-determination; 
that is, freely and voluntarily choose the political formula under 
which our people would like to organize itself. 

Any action taken by this, the United States Congress, that falls 
short of this will simply be more rhetoric and hollow expressions. 
That is the case of this resolution. It does nothing to change the 
sad and desperate reality of the Puerto Rican people living under 
colonial rule. 

Thank you very much. 

Mr. de Lugo. Thank you, Mr. Secretary General. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Gallisa follows:] 



171 



PARTIDO SOCIALISTA PUERTORRIQUENO 
COMITE CENTRAL 

Ponce de Leon 1866, Pda. 26 1/2, Santurce, Puerto Rico 00909 ^■" ,^^b Doris Pinrro-Sub-»«f»t»rla General 

Telefonos 726-5376 Fax 268-3594 ^^L^H^ Nestor Neza/lo-Prtsldeme 



O 



Carlo* Galllsa-Secr ettrlo General 



STATEMENT BY CARLOS GALLISA 

SECRETARY GENERAL 

PUERTO RICAN SOCIALIST PARTY CPSP) 

BEFORE THE SUB COMMITTEE ON INSULAR AFFAIRS 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES 



Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee: 

I must begin by confessing that I have my doubts over the 
specific purpose of the Resolution presented by Congressman 
Serrano, which today is the object of this Committee's 
discussion. 

I do not believe that it is merely a matter of an expression 
of the sense of Congress. If this were the case we would have to 
ask what this expression by Congress would resolve. We Puerto 
Ricans are tired of hearing from United States presidents, 
senators, congressmen, the Department of State and from 
practically the whole of the United States Government, that they 
favor the right to self determination of the Puerto Rican people. 
From President Eisenhower, in his famous 1953 message to the 
United Nations, in which he stated that independence would be 
granted by the United States if the Puerto Rican people were to 
ask for it, through George Bush, they have all told us Puerto 
Ricans that they would respect the will of the Puerto Rican 
people and that they are in favor of self determination for the 
Puerto Rican people. 



172 



Yet. history has been very different. The facts contradict 
these words, and ail the expressions regarding Puerto Rican self 
determination have been pure retoric. Under President Carter the 
United States Senate approved a similar resolution. Former 
Resident Commissioner Baltasar Corrada del Rio also presented to 
this Committee a resolution to the same effect and nothing, has 
happened to make us see that Congress, the White House or the 
Department of State, have done anything to guarantee and ensure 
our right to self determination. 

On the contrary, as recently as 1991 the U.S. Congress 
closed the doors on all discussions of the case of Puerto Rico 
when it refused to define a policy regarding Puerto Rico that 
would lead to the decolonisation of what is the last colony on 
this planet. 

In the United Nations the United States Government has 
consistently blocked every effort of the Decolonization Committee 
to guarantee the right of self determination to the Puerto Rican 
people. 

In fact, for forty years the United States Government has 
told the United Nations that the Puerto Rican people exercised 
its right to self determination in 1952 with the creation of the 
Free Associated State. 

Given this history, what is the purpose of this Resolution? 
From its text and the press release that accompanied it last 
December 7, 1992, we conclude that it is closely related to a so- 
called plebiscite that will be held next November 14th in Puerto 
Rico. 



173 



If the idea is to imply that the Puerto Rican people will be 
exercising its right to self determination at that time, I have 
to say with all due clarity that this Resolution is deceptive. 
Not even the Puerto Rican Government, nor the opposition parties 
that will participate in the November event have dared to define 
this event as being an exercise in self determination. Among the 
participants themselves there are expressions to the effect that 
what is to occur in November does not even fulfill the requisites 
of a plebiscite, let alone a process of self determination. 

The United States Congress should no longer ignore its 
responsibility of facing the colonial problem of Puerto Rico. The 
United States refuses to accept that it is a colonial power and 
that 80% of the human beings still living under colonialism on 
the planet Earth are under its colonial rule in Puerto Rico. 

The Resolution means very little or nothing taking into 
consideration the colonial reality that has oppressed the Puerto 
Rican people for what will be 98 years next July 25th. 

Besides, the Resolution is misleading because in its first 
whereas it signifies that the Puerto Rican problem is one of 
"natural born citizens of the United States (but) that do not 
enjoy all of the individual rights and liberties accorded to 
other American citizens under the United States Constitution. " 
This is not the problem of Puerto Rico. What we have here is not 
a matter of civil rights under the United States Constitution. 
The problem is one of colonialism, classical colonialism, of a 
nation, and I repeat, a nation, which is Caribbean and Latin 
American, with 500 years of history, invaded, occupied and 



174 



dominated politically and economically by the United States since 
When the Resolution expresses the problem of Puerto Rico as one 
between first and second class United States citizens, it commits 
the serious error of not recognizing Puerto Rico as a nation. Mr. 
Serrano in that respect adopts the position of the statehooders 
of Puerto Rico of Puerto Rico which present the Puerto Rican 
problem as one of United States citizens that are discriminated 
against. 

Before being made United States citizens, we Puerto Ricans 
had already been invaded and had been a United States colony for 
19 years. The human and civil rights problem we face is the 
result of colonialism and not of discrimination as United States 
citizens. In fact, we are United States citizens as a result of 
an imposition under the of colonial rule. 

I recommend Congressman Serrano eliminate the first whereas 
and focus the case of Puerto Rico in its proper perspective, 
which is the colonial perspective. 

The United States Congress uses as an argument to maintain 
its rule and its supreme authority over the Puerto Rican people, 
the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution, which 
gives Congress the authority to administrate and dispose of the 
territories and other United States properties. While Congress 
maintains this power and authority over Puerto Rico, no matter 
how you call the status of Puerto Rico, this status will be a 
colonial status. In this regard, I believe the contribution that 
Congressman Serrano should make in order to face the problem 
appropriately, is to present a Resolution For the United States 



175 



to dispose of the Puerto Rican territory: recognize the 
sovereignty of the Puerto Rican people, and specifically 
surrender its authority under the Territorial Clause. Then, and 
only then, the Puerto Rican people can exercise its right to self 
determination, and freely and voluntarily choose the political 
formula under which our people would like to organize itself. 

Any action taken by the United States Congress that falls 
short of this will simply be more retoric and hollow expressions. 
That is the case with this Resolution. It does nothing to change 
the sad and desperate reality of the Puerto Rican people living 
to live under colonial rule. 

July 13, 1993 



176 

Mr. DE Lugo. And our next witness is Attorney Benny Frankie 
Cerezo, President of the Puerto Rican Statehood Forum. 

STATEMENT OF BENNY FRANKIE CEREZO 

Mr. Cerezo. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman de Lugo, Congress- 
man Romero-Barcelo, Congressman Underwood, Congressman 
Murphy, Congressman Serrano, Mr. Farrow, Mr. Mansur. 

My name is Benny Cerezo. I am a lawyer in private practice in 
San Juan, Puerto Rico, and President of a small think tank, the 
Puerto Rican Statehood Forum, dedicated to the study of the possi- 
bility and the promotion of statehood for Puerto Rico. 

I am one of the eight original founders of the New Progressive 
Party and served as a member of the Puerto Rico House of Rep- 
resentatives as Chairman of its Government Committee and as its 
Majority Whip. From 1989 through 1991, I served at the request 
of the Honorable Carlos Romero-Barcelo, then President of the New 
Progressive Party, as Presidential Delegate and Chief Representa- 
tive of the Puerto Rican Statehood Movement before the different 
congressional committees considering the possibility of ordering a 
referendum sponsored by Congress to assist the people of Puerto 
Rico in determining its future and exercising its inalienable right 
of self-determination. 

Expressing the sense of Congress on the right to self-determina- 
tion by the people of Puerto Rico entails walking into the centuries' 
old debate on status. It is like walking into a mine field. The issue 
is complex by itself. 

Puerto Ricans have the right as U.S. citizens to petition state- 
hood, Puerto Rico has the natural right of pursuing its independ- 
ence, and Puerto Rico also has the right to improve its lot, as much 
as possible, under the present territorial arrangement of common- 
wealth, through changes enacted by Congress in the exercise of its 
responsibilities as a sovereign; changes enacted under its territorial 
powers. 

The concurrent resolution, as drafted by Congressman Serrano, 
should present no problem to this Congress with a few minor 
changes, but as the testimonies presented will show, the people of 
Puerto Rico are looking forward to much more than a mere expres- 
sion reaffirming its right to self-determination. Representatives of 
the different political persuasions on the island have testified and 
will testify not only on the contents of this simple resolution but 
on their expectations. 

The people of Puerto Rico deserve, after 500 years of continuous 
colonial rule, a fair opportunity to solve this conundrum. In light 
of this, the least we should expect that Congress not allow its own 
lack of definition vis a vis this problem to further complicate the 
mine field. 

Some witnesses will come before you, or have already come be- 
fore you, to request a fast track for the consideration of any propos- 
als drafted by the winning party or by its sympathizers in Con- 
gress. This request will be used by the contending parties to pro- 
mote misinformation on how Congress works and how it will treat 
the different options and the different requests. 

In order to avoid being used as an unwilling ally in the search 
of votes for any particular cause, Congress should clearly state that 



177 

any and all changes should receive a majority endorsement from 
the people of Puerto Rico. This Congress should avoid becoming 
trammelled in this mine field and can do so if it clearly states the 
rules, not necessarily as part of this resolution, but, as a part of 
this Committee's oversight responsibilities. 

Some followers of the independence movement as well as some 
of the followers of the status quo maintain the theory that a so- 
called "permanent government" operating in Washington has de- 
cided to steer Puerto Rico towards independence due to its cost to 
the Nation and what they suggest is racism (some even claim that 
Hamilton Jordan once decried and complained about the aspira- 
tions of "3.6 million impoverished, mulatto, U.S. citizens from the 
Caribbean") a racism such as to annul the aspirations for equality 
of over 3.6 million U.S. citizens, as expressed by the majority of 
them. 

Congress upon whom the territorial powers are vested, Congress 
who unilaterally decided in 1917 to grant U.S. citizenship to those 
born on the island, has a moral responsibility not only to respect 
the right of self-determination, but to assist the people of Puerto 
Rico, the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, in the determination of their 
aspirations. Congress cannot, should not continue playing the role 
of an innocent bystander. 

Allow me to walk you through some of the complications and 
problems in this process. Let us start with commonwealth and the 
issue of whether Puerto Rico is under the sovereignty of the U.S. 
or not. Not even the courts, which are supposed to be the arbiters 
in this dispute, are in agreement. In the First Circuit, since the 
case of — and in the complete text there is the reference — the First 
Circuit found that Puerto Rico is a separate sovereign under the 
double jeopardy clause. Such a view has been subsequently reiter- 
ated by them. But as recently as June 4, 1993, the 11th Circuit 
Court of Appeals disagreed and stated unequivocally, among other 
things, that all of the changes that Congress has made throughout 
the years in Puerto Rico, they have "not changed in any way Puer- 
to Rico's constitutional status as a territory or the source of power 
over Puerto Rico. Congress continues to be the ultimate source of 
power pursuant to the territory clause of the Constitution." 

And it continues saying, "Congress may unilaterally repeal the 
Puerto Rico Constitution or the Puerto Rican Federal Relations Act 
and replace them with any rules or regulations of its choice." 

This legal confusion should not surprise anyone. After all, com- 
monwealth was born out of deceit. Then-Resident Commissioner 
Antonio Fernos-Isern while testifying on May 16, 1950, before the 
House Public Lands Committee on H.R. 7674 and S. 3336 (81st 
Congress), stated that the phrase "in the nature of a compact" 
"would not alter the powers of sovereignty acquired by the United 
States over Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris." 

That was the official representation made to Congress. By the 
time the Constitution of Puerto Rico came to Congress for final ap- 
proval, the advocates of commonwealth had already started pro- 
moting the falsity of a compact which Congress cannot supposedly 
alter unilaterally, a bilateral relationship between two sovereigns. 
They had stripped Congress of its power over the territory. This led 
Senator Long to express on May 6, 1952, while discussing the ap- 



178 

proval of the Puerto Rico Constitution, and I will quote: "It seems 
most unfortunate to me that language, 'in the nature of a compact' 
ever slipped into the act, because that could only lead to complete 
misunderstanding," end of quote. 

Independence proponents meanwhile shied away from dialogue 
with the powers that be in the executive branch and in Congress, 
until 1989 when they decided to participate in the effort initiated 
by Senator J. Bennet Johnston to enact legislation that would solve 
the issues of Puerto Rico's status by proposing three different alter- 
natives in a level playing field. Eager as we all were and still are 
to delve into this problem and to solve it, we assisted in the cre- 
ation of yet another problem, another falsehood, this one with ten- 
tative Senatorial blessing: Independence with dual citizenship. In 
other words, an independent Republic of Puerto Rico in which fu- 
ture generations of Puerto Ricans will keep on counting the bless- 
ings of U.S. citizenship and some of the goodies that come with it. 

This was enacted in this Senatorial committee under the dual 
presumption that it was necessary in order to keep the independ- 
ence followers in the process, and that, after all, it was harmless 
and academic in light of Puerto Ricans' distaste for independence. 
So now you have independence proponents campaigning on the is- 
land with the benefit of this "harmless" concession "as offered by 
Congress." More confusion. 

Statehood meanwhile is marketed in incredibly parochial and 
naive terms. Puerto Ricans are being lured into the promised land 
with the benefits of a discredited welfare state and no emphasis 
whatsoever on the individual responsibilities of citizenship, nor the 
realities of this Nation. Puerto Ricans are being led into a big frus- 
tration when they face the realities of the American way of life. 

Representation, for instance, is made to the continued participa- 
tion of Puerto Rico in beauty pageants and Olympic athletic activi- 
ties as a separate entity from the United States. While I under- 
stand this to be legally possible, it is unrealistic and absurd. Allow 
me to give you an innocent example of how unrealistic this issue 
of status has become. While serving as the statehood's movement's 
liaison with the Congress, I received a phone call from one of Sen- 
ator Bill Bradley's principal advisors, who, by the way, is a recent 
champion of 936 and the government of Puerto Rico, and a good 
sportsman in his own right, and they had a query. It was, what 
was the statehood movement's position on Olympic games. 

The Senator, who has always been a good friend of Puerto Rico, 
wanted to know if it was true that statehooders were promising a 
separate Olympic franchise for the State of Puerto Rico. 

During the conversation and argumentation, I did my best to 
frame the discussion of the issue strictly on legal technicalities, on 
the legal aspects of whether Congress could legislate on the subject, 
on the First Amendment and whatnot. The bottom line of the ex- 
tended and passionate argument was that the Senator would move 
heavens and earth in order to block such a miscarriage. Puerto 
Rico was not to join the Union and continue as a separate entity. 
I left the Senator's office frustrated, but as I have reflected on the 
experience acquired during those years, I have come to treasure 
that encounter because it showed me how distant we are from un- 
derstanding what joining the Nation means, what joining the Na- 



179 

tion is. The people of Puerto Rico have to recognize that while our 
ethnic, cultural and language differences are to be treasured and 
will perdure, statehood means a union, a real union, for better or 
for worse, and for always. 

That should also be thought out by Congress. The admittance of 
Puerto Rico as a State is the acceptance of Puerto Ricans as equals 
and the acceptance of the proposition that the Nation will officially 
become pluralistic, multilingual, different. It will not be the same. 
I think it will be a better Nation but you would have to think 
whether you will like it or not. The powerful Hispanic caucus that 
will emerge, the powerful network of Hispanics arising out of Puer- 
to Rico's acceptance as an equal will change the Nation forever. 

The decision is monumental for both parties. We have to stop 
playing games and have to start being consistent. You cannot im- 
pose citizenship to a people without acquiring the moral duty of 
granting equality. You cannot come and plea for the goodies of colo- 
nial rule, such as the so-called 936 companies right of not paying 
taxes for monies earned in the territories and simultaneously talk 
about equality and entering into the Nation on an equal footing 
with the other States. This is or should be a serious game, not the 
domain of smart alecks and double talkers. 

Congress should finally create the grounds for serious and 
prompt discussion of these issues. Then we will be ready to under- 
take the task of lifting both the U.S. and Puerto Rico out of the 
cesspool of colonialism. 

And let me just add my direct comment, Congressman Serrano, 
who with this resolution, what he is really doing is fighting indif- 
ference, the deliberate indifference of many who think that by ig- 
noring the problem of the status of Puerto Rico, it will somehow go 
away. Believe me, it will not. It will ultimately stain us all. Thank 
you. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you very much, Benny. That was a very im- 
pressive statement, very forthright, and I think you certainly put 
your finger on the service that the Serrano resolution is rendering. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Cerezo follows:] 



180 



Testimony presented before the House Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, Committee on 
Natural Resources, July 13, 1993, Washington, D. C. on H. Con. Res. 94. 



My name is Benny Frankie Cerezo. I am a lawyer in private practice in 
San Juan, Puerto Rico and President of a small think tank, Puerto Rican 
Statehood Forum, dedicated to the study of the possibility and the 
promotion of Statehood for Puerto Rico. 

I am one of the eight original founders of the New Progressive Party and 
served as a Member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives as 
Chairman of its Government Committee and as its Majority Whip. 

From 1989 through 1991, I served at the request of the Honorable Carlos 
Romero-Barcel6, then President of the New Progressive Party as 
Presidential Delegate and Chief Representative of the Puerto Rican 
Statehood Movement before the different Congressional committees 
considering the possibility of ordering a referendum sponsored by 
Congress to assist the people of Puerto Rico in determining its future and 
exercising its inalienable right of self-determination. 

Expressing the sense of Congress on the right to Self determination by the 
People of Puerto Rico entails walking into the centuries old debate on 
status. Walking into a mine field. The issue is complex by itself. Puerto 
Ricans have the right as U.S. citizens to petition Statehood. Puerto Rico 
has the natural right of pursuing its Independence and Puerto Rico also 
has the right to improve its lot as much as possible under the present 
territorial arrangement of Commonwealth, a term which in Spanish is 
conveniently translated as Free Associated State, through changes enacted^ 
by Congress in the exercise of its responsibilities as a sovereign. Changes 
enacted under its territorial powers. 

The Concurrent Resolution as drafted by Congressman Jose Serrano (D- 
N.Y.) should present no problem to this Congress with a few minor 
changes, but as the testimonies presented will show, the People of Puerto 
Rico are looking forward to much more than a mere expression 
reaffirming it's right to self-determination. Representatives of the 
different political persuasions An the island have testified and will testify 



181 



not only on the contents of this simple resolution but on their expectations. 

The People of Puerto Rico deserve, after 500 years of continuous colonial 
rule, a fair opportunity to solve this conundrum. In light of this the least, 
we should expect that Congress not allow its own lack of definition vis a 
vis this problem to further complicate the mine field. 

Some witnesses will come before you to request a fast track for the 
consideration of any proposals drafted by the winning party or by itSj 
sympathizers in Congress. This request will be used by the contending 
parties to promote misinformation on how Congress works and how it 
will treat the different options and the different requests. 

In order to avoid being used as an unwilling ally in the search for votes for 
any particular cause, Congress should clearly state that any and all 
changes should receive a majority endorsement from the People of Puerto 
Rico. This Congress should avoid becoming trammelled in this mine field 
and can do so if it clearly states the rules, not necessarily as part of thi$ 
Resolution, but, as a part of this committee's oversight responsibilities. 

Some followers of the Independence Movement as well as some of the 
followers of the status quo maintain the theory that a so called 
"permanent government" operating in Washington has decided to steer 
Puerto Rico towards Independence due to its cost to the nation and what 
they suggest is racism (some even claim that Hamilton Jordan once decried 
and complained about the aspirations of "3.6 millions impoverished, 
mulatto, U.S. citizens from the Caribbean") a racism such as to annul th$ 
aspirations for equality of over 3.6 million U. S. citizens (as expressed by a 
majority of them.) 

Congress upon whom the territorial powers are vested, Congress who 
unilaterally decided in 1917 to grant U. S. citizenship to those born on the 
Island, has a moral responsibility not only to respect the right of self- 
determination, but to assist the People of Puerto Rico, the U.S. citizens of 
Puerto Rico in the determination of their aspirations. Congress cannot, 
should not continue playing the role of an innocent bystander. o 

Allow me to walk you through some of the complications and problems in 
this process. Let us start with Commonwealth and the issue of whether 



182 



Puerto Rico is under the sovereignty of the U. S. or not. Not even the 
courts, which are supposed to be the arbiters in this dispute, are in 
agreement. In U.S. vs. Lopez Andino, 831 F. 2d. 1164 the First Circuit 
Court of Appeals found that Puerto Rico is a separate sovereign under the 
Double Jeopardy Clause. Such a view has been subsequently reiterated by 
them. But as recently as June 4, 1993 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals 
disagreed and stated unequivocally : "Puerto Rico is still constitutionally a 
territory, and not a separate sovereign." "With each new organic act, first 
the Foraker Act in 1900, then the Jones Act in 1917, and then the Federal 
Relations Act in 1950 and later amendments, Congress has simply 
delegated more authority to Puerto Rico over local matters. But this has 
not changed in anv w ay Puerto Rico's constitutional status as a territory. 
or the source of power over Puerto Rico. Congress continues to be the 
ultimate s ource of power pursuant to the Territory Clause of the 

Constitution." 

"CONGRESS MAY UNILATERALLY REPEAL THE PUERTO RICO 
CONSTITUTION OR THE PUERTO RICAN FEDERAL RELATION^ 
ACT AND REPLACE THEM WITH ANY RULES OR REGULATIONS OF 
ITS CHOICE." 

This legal confusion should not surprise anyone. After all, Commonwealth 
was born out of deceit. Then Resident Commissioner Antonio Fern6s-Isern 
while testifying on May 16, 1950 before the House Public Lands Committee 
on H. R. 7674 and S. 3336 (81st. Congress), stated that the phrase "in the 
nature of a compact" "would not alter the powers of sovereignty acquired 
by the United States over Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of 
Paris". That was the official representation made to Congress, but by the 
time the Constitution of Puerto Rico came to Congress for final approval, 
the advocates of Commonwealth had already started promoting the 
falsity of a compact which Congress cannot alter unilaterally, a bilateral 
relationship between two sovereigns . The had stripped Congress of its 
power over the Territory. This led Senator Long to express on May 6, 
1952, while discussing the approval of the Constitution : 

o 
"it seems most unfortunate to me that language, 'in the nature of a 
compacf ever slipped into the act, because that could only lead to complete 
misunderstanding'' 

Independence proponents meanwhile shied away from dialogue with the 



183 



powers that be in the Executive Branch and in Congress, until 1989 when, 
they decided to participate in the effort (1989-1991) initiated by Senator J. 
Bennet Johnston to enact legislation that would solve the issue of Puerto 
Rico's status by proposing three different alternatives in "a level playing 
field". Eager as we all were and still are to delve into this problem and to 
solve it, we assisted in the creation of yet another problem, another 
falsehood, this one with a tentative Senatorial blessing : Independence 
with dual citizenship. In other words, an independent Republic of Puerto 
Rico in which future generations of Puerto Ricans will keep on counting 
the blessings of U.S. citizenship and some of the goodies that come with ifo 
This, was enacted under the dual presumption that it was necessary in 
order to keep the Independence followers in the process, and that, after all, 
it was harmless and academic in light of Puerto Ricans distaste for 
Independence. So now you have Independence proponents campaigning 
on the island with the benefit of this "harmless" concession "as offered by 
Congress". More confusion. 

Statehood meanwhile is being marketed in incredibly parochial and naive 
terms, Puerto Ricans are being lured into the promised land with the 
benefits of a discredited welfare state and no emphasis whatsoever on the 
individual responsibilities of citizenship, nor the realities of this nation. 
Puerto Ricans are being led to a big frustration when they face the realities 
of the American Way of Life. 

Representation is made, for instance, to the continued participation of 
Puerto Rico in beauty pageants and Olympic athletic activities as a 
separate entity from the United States. While I understand this to be 
legally possible it is unrealistic and absurd. Allow me to give you a» 
innocent example of how unrealistic this issue of status has become. While 
serving as the Statehood Movement's liaison with the Congress, I 
received a phone call from one of Senator Bill Bradley's principal 
advisors. The query was on the Statehood movement's position on 
Olympic Games. The Senator, who has always been a good friend of 
Puerto Rico wanted to know if it was true that Statehooders were 
promising a separate Olympic franchise for the State of Puerto Rico. 

During the conversation and argumentation I did my best to frame the 
discussion of the issue on legal technicalities. On the legal aspects of 
whether Congress could legislate on the subject. On the First Amendment 



184 



and whatnot. The bottom line of the extended and passionate argument 
was that the Senator would move heavens and earth in order to block such 
a miscarriage. Puerto Rico was not to join the union and continue as a 
separate entity. I left the Senator's office frustrated, but as I have reflected 
on the experience acquired during those years, I have come to treasure 
that encounter because it showed me how distant we are from 
understanding what joining the Nation means, what joining the Nation is. 
The People of Puerto Rico have to recognize that while our ethnic, cultural 
and language differences are to be treasured and will perdure, Statehood? 
means a union, a real union, for better, or worse and for always. 

That should also be thought out by Congress. The admittance of Puerto 
Rico as a State, is the acceptance of Puerto Ricans as equals and the 
acceptance of the proposition that the Nation will officially become 
pluralistic, multilingual and different. It will not be the same. I think it will 
be a better Nation but you have to think whether you will like it or not. The 
powerful Hispanic caucus that will emerge, the powerful network of 
Hispanics arising out of Puerto Rico's acceptance as a an equal will change* 
this Nation forever. 

The decision is monumental for both parties. We have to stop playing 
games and have to start being consistent. You cannot impose citizenship to 
a people without acquiring the moral duty of granting equality. You cannot 
come and plea for the goodies of colonial rule, such as the so called 936 
companies right of not paying taxes for monies earned in the territories 
and simultaneously talk about equality and entering into the Nation on an 
equal footing with the other States. This is or should be a very serious 
game, not the domain of smart alecks and double talkers. 

This is my message today. Congress should create the grounds for serious 
and prompt discussion of these issues. Then we will all be ready to 
responsibly undertake the task of lifting both the United Sates and Puerto 
Rico from the cesspool of colonialism. 



185 

Mr. DE Lugo. The next witness in this panel is Arturo J. 
Guzman, Co-chairman of IDEA of Puerto Rico. 

STATEMENT OF ARTURO J. GUZMAN 

Mr. Guzman. Good afternoon. 

Mr. de Lugo. Mr. Guzman. 

Mr. Guzman. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, 
first of all, I wish to extend my greetings to you, Mr. Chairman, 
to our Resident Commissioner and to many Members who for 
countless years have represented their fellow Americans in Puerto 
Rico in their quest for full constitutional equality as well as in 
their plight for political self-determination. 

To the new Members of this Congress, I can only quote from tes- 
timony given this Committee by a colleague in 1986 when he 
warned that we would keep coming back and back again, and back 
we are and will be until our present colonial condition is resolved 
by securing a firm commitment of the Congress that it will finally 
honor the responsibilities that were accepted by the United States 
in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. 

And if you allow me, I will reread that last sentence. That it will 
finally honor the responsibilities that were accepted by the United 
States in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. 

This seemingly endless quest in trying to resolve a condition that 
dates back almost a century has in the course become a question 
of national integrity. If as a Nation we espouse and defend the 
cause of self-determination throughout the world, sometimes to the 
point of bearing arms, is our own Congress incapable of guarantee- 
ing self-determination for 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto 
Rico and many more in other territories? The historical truth 
proves a contradiction and that allows us to attach great import to 
the resolution being considered here today. 

However, allow me to remind you once again that this process 
must be addressed as the individual and collective self-determina- 
tion of fellow American citizens, not the self-determination of local 
or national political parties, nor the self-determination of multi- 
national corporations that foster colonialism by placing perks and 
profit margins above the civil rights of their fellow Americans. 

If this resolution is to prove meaningful to self-determination, 
the Congress must state beyond a doubt the true historical facts of 
our mutual relationship that allow the people of Puerto Rico to 
make informed choices for the future. Truths pertaining to the type 
of American citizenship extended Puerto Ricans from 1917 as being 
of a different origin than that contemplated by the U.S. Constitu- 
tion or envisioned by our forefathers for all Americans. Truths such 
as the fact that the origin of our citizenship is as statutory as our 
present political condition and equally vulnerable to the unilateral 
will of the Congress and the powers vested in it by the so-called 
territory clause. 

The truth that in the course of the years, our condition and rela- 
tionship have transcended from a simple matter of political status 
to one directly affecting and oftentimes violating the civil rights of 
American citizens. And truths evidenced in the duplicity of the de- 
bate by affirming one thing before the world community and hav- 



186 

ing to accept another, the reality, before the Congress and before 
the Nation. 

It is now 1993, shortly before the end of the century and the ad- 
vent of a new millennium and I am convinced that if the present 
political condition of Puerto Rico were to be brought to your consid- 
eration within the terms of the present definition as it was more 
than 40 years ago, even if reluctantly, the Congress would have to 
admit that it no longer meets present day standards for 
decolonization. 

The Congress would almost have to judge it, as I have stated it 
before, as a question of civil rights of fellow Americans and also, 
in its implications before the international community, a question 
directly affecting the national interest and integrity. 

But I am not here to look to the past in trying to recriminate or 
seek admission or much less confession. What is past belongs to 
history, but the future is ours only if we recognize the past for its 
lessons and mutually assume our present responsibilities. In that 
spirit, I come before you with the following specific proposals: 

First, it becomes essential that as part of its prologue or as part 
of the full body of this resolution, you consider incorporating lan- 
guage that defines an exact, specific, and simple terms the nature 
of the present relationship including its effect upon our citizenship. 

Previous hearings in this Committee and the conclusions offered 
by lengthy research and testimony, have amply and inescapably 
demonstrated that more than four decades after implementation 
the present condition is not fully understood by a large segment of 
the people of Puerto Rico who are expected to vote and change it 
in the proposed plebiscite. 

Past political expediency on the part of individuals and national 
or local political entities have created such a credibility chasm be- 
tween the good will of our people, what has been misrepresented 
as factual, and their inalienable right to know the truth, that it be- 
comes imperative for the Congress to respond directly and prior to 
the voting. 

Secondly, during the public hearings on the federally sponsored 
plebiscite held by the U.S. House and Senate during 1989 and 
1990, it became evidently clear that the definitions provided for 
some of the status alternatives, most notoriously commonwealth or 
free associated state, included many aspects which proved beyond 
the constitutional mandates of the Congress. 

Therefore, the Congress must try and prevent a repetition which 
would result in a complete dislocation of the process by dooming it 
from the start to an exercise in futility. Your good will in support- 
ing self-determination must not be misrepresented or portrayed to 
the people of Puerto Rico as a blank check that the Congress will 
consider options that do not conform to the constitutional mandate, 
nor that the Congress would be willing to support a constitutional 
amendment to accommodate a particular status proposal. 

In essence, I propose for your conversation that language be in- 
cluded in this resolution that clearly defines the basic parameters 
of the four models which you would be restrained to consider: incor- 
porated or unincorporated territory, under plenary powers of the 
Congress within the territory clause; or independence as an indi- 



187 

vidual sovereign nation or in free association; and statehood out- 
side the plenary powers of the Congress under the territory clause. 

Finally, before you remains a challenge in proving with the open 
truth that the Congress has made a commitment not to repeat the 
past by not imposing it upon us as a future. Perhaps on a larger 
scale, the question will be answered as to how much will does the 
Congress have in making these truths become self-evident and 
avoiding the implications of complicity that would inevitably follow 
as a result of silence. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you, Mr. Guzman, and I want to thank all 
the witnesses for their preparations. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Guzman follows:] 



188 
MITTEN STSTCMENT 



0F Ml. tlTUIS J. CIZMIN 

CI-CIIIIPEISIN IF TIE INSTITUTE FOB TIE IEIELIPMENT, 

EQIILITf INI 

■IDINCEMENT IF PIEI7I IICI (I.I.E.I. IF PIEITI IICI, INC.) 



IN I. CINI. IES. 9* 



tllMITEl Fll INCLISIIN IS TESTIMONY Fll TIE IECIII 



Tl 

TIE IIISE INSILII INI INTEINITIINIL IFFIIIS SIICIMMITTEE 
IN TIE IEIIIN6S IELI IN VISIINGTIN, I.C. 

IN JILV 13, 1993 



The Institute for the Deuelopment, Advancement, and Equality of Puerto 
Rico (I.O.E.R. of Puerto Rico, Inc.) is o non-profit corporation, not 
affiliated to locol or notional political parties, Integrated by private 
individuals with outstanding professional and academic records for the 
purposes of research and deuelopment on Issues pertaining to Puerto 
Rico. 



189 



MR. CBBIBMBN: 

I respectfully request thot the following statement be Included In the 
permanent record of these Heelings, end thet it also be cross- 
referenced with our preuious testimonies before the House Insular end 
International Affairs Committee on May 22nd, 1986, July 1 7th, 1986 and 
March 9th, 1990; as well as our testimony before the Senate Energy and 
Natural Resources Committee on June 17th, 1989. 

MB. CRBIBMBN 6NB MEMBERS BE TBE CBMMITTEE: 

First of all I wish to eHtend my greetings to Chairmen de 
Lugo and to many of the Committee members who for many years haue 
represented their fellow Americans In Puerto Rico In their quest for full 
Constitutional equality, as well as In their plight for political self- 
determination. 

To the new members of this Congress, I can only quote from 
testimony giuen this Committee by o colleague in 1986 when he warned 
thet, "we would keep coming beck end back again". Rnd back we ere, 
and will be, until our present colonial condition is resolued by securing a 
firm commitment of the Congress that it will finally honor the 
responsibilities that were accepted by the United States in the 1898 
Treaty of Paris. 

This seemingly endless quest in trying to resolue a condition 
that dotes back almost a century has In the course become a question 
of notional integrity: If es e Notion we spousa and defend the cause of 
self-determination throughout the tUorid, sometimes to the point of 
bearing arms, Is our own Congress incapable of guaranteeing self- 
determination for 3.5 million American citizens In Puerto Rico and many 
more in other territories? 

The historical truth proues o contradiction, and that allows 
us to attach great Import to the resolution being considered here today. 
Howeuer, allow me to remind you once again that this process must be 
eddressed es the individual and collective self-determination of fellow 
American citizens, not the self-determination of local or national 
political parties, nor the self-determination of multi-national 
corporations that foster colonialism by placing perks and profit margins 
aboue the dull rights of their fellow Americans. 



76-006 0-94-7 



190 



(2) 

If this resolution Is to proue meaningful to self- 
determination, the Congress must state beyond o doubt the true 
historical facts of our mutual relationship that allow the people of 
Puerto Rico to make informed choices for the future. Truths pertaining to 
the type of American citizenship eKtended Puerto Ricans from 1917 as 
being of a different origin than that contemplated by the U.S. 
Constitution or envisioned by our forefathers for all Americans. Truths 
such as the fact that the origin of our citizenship Is as statutory as our 
present political condition and equally vulnerable to the unilateral will of 
the Congress under the powers vested In it by the so called "Territory 
Clause". 

The truth that in the course of the years our condition end 
relationship have transcended from a simple matter of political status 
to one directly affecting and often times violating the civil rights of 
American citizens. Rnd truths evidenced In the duplicity of the debate 
by affirming one thing before the World community and having to 
accept another, the reality, before the Congress and before the Nation. 

It is now 1993, shortly before the end of the century and the advent of 
a new millennium and I am convinced that if the present political 
condition of Puerto Rico were to be brought to your consideration 
within the terms of the present definition as it was mare than forty 
years ago, even if reluctantly, the Congress would hove to admit that it 
no longer meets present day standards for de-colonization. 

The Congress would almost hove to judge It, as I've stated 
before, as a question of civil rights of fellow Americans and also, In Its 
implications before the international community, a question directly 
affecting the national interest and integrity. 

But I em not here to look to the past In trying to 
recriminate or to seek admission or much less confession, What's post 
belongs to history, but the future is ours only if we recognize the past 
for its lessons and mutually assume our present responsibilities. In that 
spirit I come before you with the following specific proposals: 

FIRST: It becomes essential that as part nf Its prologue er as part of 
the full body of this resolution, uou consider incorporating language 
that defines in enact, specific, and simple terms the nature of the 
present relationship including Its effect unon our citizenship. 



191 



(3) 

Previous hearings by this Committee and the conclusions offered by 
lengthy research and testimony, haue amply and inescapably 
demonstrated that more than four decodes after implementation the 
present condition Is not fully understood by a large segment of the 
people of Puerto Rico who ere expected to note and change it in the 
proposed plebiscite. 

Past political eHpedlency on the part of indiuiduals and national or local 
political entities haue created such a credibility chasm between the 
good will of our people, what has been misrepresented as factual, and 
their inelleneble right to know the truth, thet it becomes imperative for 
the Congress to respond directly end prior to the uoting. 

SECOND: During the public hearings on a federally sponsored plebiscite 
held by the U.S. House end Senate during 1989 and 1990 it became 
euldently clear that the definitions proulded for some of the status 
alternatiues, most notoriously 'Commonwealth 11 or "Free Associated 
Stete", Included many aspects which proued beyond the constitutional 
mandates of the Congress. 

Therefore, the Congress must try and preuent a repetition 
which would result in a complete dislocation of the process by dooming 
it from the start to on eHercise in futility. Vour goodwill in supporting 
self-determination must not be misrepresented or portrayed to the 
people of Puerto Rico as a "blank check" that the Congress will consider 
options that do not conform to the constitutional mandate, nor thot the 
Congress would be willing to support e constitutional amendment to 
eccommodete e particular status proposal. 

In essence I propose for your consideration that language 
be included in this resolution that clearly defines the basic parameters 
of the four models which you would be restrained to consider 
Incorporated or "Unincorporated" Territory, under the powers of the 
Congress within the "Territory Clause"; or Independence (as on 
Individual sovereign notion or In "Free Association") and Statehood 
outside the 'Territory Clause". 



192 



(4) 

Finally, before you remains a challenge in proving with the 
open truth that the Congress has made a commitment not repeat the 
past by not imposing it upon us as a future. Perhaps on a larger scale, 
the question will be answered as to houi much will does the Congress 
haue In making these truths become self-evident and avoiding the 
Implications of complicity that would Inevitably fallow as a result of 
silence. 



193 

Mr. DE LUGO. Dr. Ramirez, you noted the debate has largely re- 
volved around the three parties and you have suggested it should 
not, to the exclusion of other groups. But are not the parties' 
groups in the focus because they have demonstrated popular sup- 
port? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. I don't understand your question. 

Mr. de Lugo. You have said that the debate on political status 
and for the plebiscite that is coming up, has largely revolved 
around the three recognized political parties and you have sug- 
gested that this should not exclude citizen groups such as your 
group. You know, doesn't the support and the focus of these politi- 
cal parties come because they have demonstrated popular political 
support? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. Well, first of all, I think that the fact 
that citizens' groups are excluded totally from the participation in 
the electoral commission — we don't have any way of getting rights 
approved or funding or anything like that — is a mistake, because 
there are a lot of people in Puerto Rico — let's take the statehood 
option, which is the one I support and represent. I believe in the 
other party, particularly in the commonwealth party, there is a lot 
of people that are statehooders and they do not feel represented by 
the statehood party. They belong to our group, they work with us, 
and we would, in all honesty, really would like to see funding given 
to our group to take care of our education and to participate in the 
process fully and that is not contemplated. 

The way they do it is that the bill says if a political party decides 
to vote, then a qualifying group would be included, but if not, there 
is no way to do that. I feel that the fact we delivered 350,000 peti- 
tions to Congress gives us standing to qualify as a group that rep- 
resents statehood, considering the fact the pro-Independence Party 
doesn't even have that many votes. 

Mr. DE LUGO. But didn't you testify before the legislature on this 
matter and make your case? And isn't there a democratic process 
in Puerto Rico where the members of the legislature hear the wit- 
nesses and those who are elected by the people vote on the issues 
and bring forward the legislation? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. Yes, we testified to this in the legisla- 
ture. We requested it. We did it before for the referendum of 1991. 
We have done it in Congress when discussion has gone on on plebi- 
scite, but, apparently, the people who deal with this issue every- 
where seem to feel that it is an issue that belongs in the political 
parties and not to the people. 

When they talk about it, they say this is something with the peo- 
ple of Puerto Rico. But I think the language should say this be- 
longs to the parties of Puerto Rico. So we are just so frustrated 
with it. We keep repeating it, but we don't have any hope for 
change in the near future. 

Mr. de Lugo. You are not suggesting that the Congress interfere 
and pass legislation that would mandate the participation and the 
funding of your group, overriding the action of the duly elected rep- 
resentatives of Puerto Rico? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. That is not what I intended when I 
mentioned it, but I would love for anything like that to happen. 
Anywhere we could get participation 



194 

Mr. DE Lugo. You would love for something like that to happen? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. I want to see us participate fully in the 
process, with all the funding and all the rights, but at this present 
time that is not what we are proposing here. 

Mr. de Lugo. You would love to have the Congress intervene? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. Oh, yes. 

Mr. DE Lugo. In the democratic process in Puerto Rico and im- 
pose its will on the duly elected representatives of Puerto Rico? 

Dr. Ramirez de Ferrer. I believe that Congress has a moral 
right to intervene in a process of self-determination, and I wouldn't 
mind at all if that happened. 

Mr. de Lugo. Well, I would find it very offensive to my beliefs 
and it would wreak with colonialism — I find that rather amazing, 
Doctor. 

Mr. Secretary General, your suggestion for legislation is similar 
to bills that our colleague, Congressman Ron Dellums, has intro- 
duced that have not passed in the House. The status problem per- 
sists. The colonial status as you term it. 

Now, why shouldn't we all try a process other than a transfer of 
powers if it results, well, let's say in a vote for independence and 
it was granted? 

Mr. Gallisa. I am not talking about transfer of powers. What I 
am saying is Congress, first of all, has to accept the reality that 
Puerto Rico is a colony and Congress has not done so yet. 

I asked Senator Bennet Johnston of Puerto Rico in the proceed- 
ings at that time, if in the proceedings at that time Congress was 
accepting that Puerto Rico was a colony, and he didn't answer. And 
at that time, in three years, between 1989 to 1990 and 1991, no- 
body in Congress accepted the reality of the colonial situation of 
Puerto Rico. If Congress does not accept that reality, the problem 
will never be solved. So that is the first thing I am saying about 
a process to decolonize Puerto Rico. 

The second problem or the second statement I made is that Con- 
gress has to surrender its authority of Puerto Rico based on the 
territorial clause because there will be no self-determination while 
Congress maintains its supreme authority over Puerto Rico under 
the territorial clause. The people of Puerto Rico cannot self-deter- 
mine themselves while Congress maintains the authority of the 
Puerto Rican people. Free determination by you cannot determine 
while Congress maintains that control. 

And, third, I think that Congress has to look into the inter- 
national rules of the decolonization. This cannot be an internal 
matter of the United States. Decolonization is an international 
matter. It is now, it is now the day after tomorrow there are other 
hearings on the colonial cause of Puerto Rico. So anything that the 
United States Government wants to do in terms of decolonizing 
Puerto Rico, they have to do it in accordance with the international 
community and that is what the people of Puerto Rico need in 
terms of negotiation with Congress. 

Mr. de Lugo. And your position is similar to that of those stated 
earlier today by Congressman Luis Gutierrez? 

Mr. Gallisa. In a sense, yes, but I am not talking about the Del- 
lums resolution. 



195 

Mr. DE Lugo. The Independence Party and others have sug- 
gested that the resolution would provide a service by focusing the 
attention of the Federal Government on the status issue and that 
the plebiscite, too, could lead to the necessary and lacking, pres- 
ently lacking Federal action. 

My question is: Aren't these at least reasons to go ahead with 
this resolution and the plebiscite given the lack of Federal action 
up to this time? 

Mr. Gallisa. I don't think that plebiscite in Puerto Rico, as it 
has been scheduled to take effect next November, is going to move 
Congress to anything. According to the political reality of Puerto 
Rico, I doubt very much that any of the formula will obtain more 
than 50 percent 

So I think the results of that plebiscite with less than 50 percent 
for the winning formula and in terms of moving Congress, I think 
it will exterminate the proceedings here in Congress, because those 
in the political circles in the United States that decide about Puer- 
to Rico will sustain their position that Puerto Ricans should get to- 
gether first and come here with a petition and that there is no con- 
sensus among the Puerto Rican people at present. I think that is 
what the plebiscite would show, lack of consensus, lack of majority. 

I don't think Congress will move with that plurality vote. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Let me ask something: Is it beyond probability 
that any one political status would get 66 percent? 

Mr. Gallisa. No, I don't think so. 

Mr. de Lugo. You don't think it is possible? 

Mr. Gallisa. I don't think more than 55 percent is possible. I 
think all the parties are very much aware of that. That is why in 
the bill enacting the plebiscite was scratched, the plurality, and it 
was not included in the majority of the 50 percent plus one. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Mr. Secretary General, you are a very sophisti- 
cated man. You know the politics and how the political system 
works. Don't you feel that if one political status got 55 percent, 
even though it might not mean that there would be an automatic 
response from the Congress, but wouldn't it force the Congress to 
begin to seriously address this question of political status for Puer- 
to Rico? 

Mr. Gallisa. I think there are other ways that could be more ef- 
fective. I suggested while the bill was being discussed in the legis- 
lature of Puerto Rico, that we should go back to something you 
mentioned before which is known in Puerto Rico as the La Fort 
Alissa Accord or agreement which was signed. The letter that was 
signed by Mr. Barrios, Mr. Hernandez-Colon and Mr. Corrada del 
Rio, at that time President of the Statehood party. 

I think the only way the Congress and the administration can 
move is if we Puerto Ricans can present a kind of petition for Con- 
gress to act, based on a petition of all the political forces in Puerto 
Rico. I think that can be attained. That is the only way that we 
can speak to Congress and Washington with one voice and rep- 
resent the total of the people of Puerto Rico what the plebiscite is 
going to do. 

This so-called plebiscite is dividing more Puerto Ricans. We are 
going to be more divided after the plebiscite than before the plebi- 
scite. So the plebiscite is not the instrument or the formula to start 



196 

the process. The plebiscite should be the last step, not the first step 
in the decolonization process. 

The first step should be to name a committee by the Puerto 
Rican Legislature or by the Governor of Puerto Rico with represen- 
tation of all the Puerto Ricans, the political forces to come here to 
Washington and talk to Congress, petition the Congress and peti- 
tion the President of the United States to act on the Puerto Rican 
colonial case. I think that way would be much more effective than 
starting the proceedings with a plebiscite which nobody is going to 
win. That is one point. 

The second, we have to face reality and the politics of the United 
States. We have to understand. That is something that was said 
here before by Congressman Rangel which I think is very impor- 
tant. Mr. Rangel stated this morning that, let's stop telling the 
Puerto Rican people that Congress will respect whatever the Puer- 
to Rican people decide. That is not true. 

If you know the American system, that is not true. If statehood 
is not a right of the Puerto Rican people, free association is not a 
right of the Puerto Rican people, the only right that we Puerto 
Rican people have is independence. Ninety percent of the Puerto 
Rican people petitioned for statehood and if it is not in the interest 
of the United States as a Nation, that petition would be denied. I 
think that is very clear. There is no controversy about that. 

The United States decides who belongs to the union. The United 
States decides on their own interest with whom the United States 
wants to associate. So we have to speak about this first with the 
U.S. Government. 

Mr. Romero this morning stated that no other territory before 
had a definition of the options by Congress and that might be true. 
It is also true that in 1945, President Truman vetoed the Puerto 
Rican bill to hold a plebiscite in 1945, and the reason for the veto 
was that Congress had not defined the options of the Puerto Rican 
people. 

There are more than three options because every option has its 
subdivision. For example, for statehood in Puerto Rican politics, 
there are three options that have been mentioned. One is the wel- 
fare state of statehood. Another is the classical statehood, and an- 
other the statehood that is statehood with Spanish culture and 
Spanish language. 

The people of Puerto Rico should know what sort of statehood is 
available to them and only Congress can tell them. 

Second, which kind of statehood is available, and so forth, for the 
association? So the plebiscite will not move this process. The par- 
ties and politics of Puerto Rico prevent a consensus to face this 
issue. That is our responsibility. We have been talking here about 
responsibilities of Congress. 

We Puerto Ricans have a lot of responsibility in this by being un- 
able to reach a consensus to talk to Washington with only one 
voice. 

Mr. de Lugo. I want to say to you that it has been very, very 
interesting listening to what you have said here today. I think this 
hearing has been very helpfiil to all those concerned, because I 
think we come to these hearings and we begin by stating what is 
politically popular or will strengthen our cause. But as the day 



197 

goes on, we put those things aside and we begin to perhaps state 
a number of hard truths. 

That you would cite the effort that was made by the leaders of 
the three Puerto Rican parties in 1990, I think is absolutely cor- 
rect. I agree with you that if that could be done at this time, that 
would be the way to go. But we lost that opportunity. 

Let me say what we have then. You had a consensus or you had 
the leaders putting aside partisan advantage, taking tremendous 
political risks and putting their country first. That held together 
through the whole process here in the House. It was very difficult, 
but they held together. 

Do you think it is any small thing to get a bill such as was 
passed in this House of Representatives unanimously through the 
House committing the Congress to respond to whatever status the 
people of Puerto Rico voted on; that the Congress would respond? 

That was an historic moment, but it was Puerto Ricans that 
went over to the Senate side and to the White House and pulled 
the plug. It was not the Congress that did not respond. It was not 
the Congress, as you say, that closed the door alone. But, as the 
process got closer evidently to election time, partisan politics be- 
came the order of the day. That was unfortunate. 

Now, once again, the people of Puerto Rico are trying. They are 
trying, the Rossello administration is coming forward with this 
process. It is not perfect. But I will say this, that it does move the 
process forward, if there is substantial participation and if there 
can be a vote that will give some indication that one political proc- 
ess has substantially more political support than the others. 

We don't know if that is going to happen. But I would think that 
if that should happen, it will perhaps move the process forward. 

You are right about one thing, you and all of the witnesses who 
have said it, and I said it in my opening statement, the Cold War 
is over. Presidents have said again and again that the people of 
Puerto Rico have the right to determine this themselves and that 
we would respond. 

The United States has gone to the U.N. and said that Puerto 
Rico is self-governing and that we will respect the decision of the 
people of Puerto Rico. But, the Congress has not yet. Under our po- 
litical system, it takes a President not just saying that he will sup- 
port this or support that, but it takes a President being actively en- 
gaged in the battle that is waged in the House, in the pits of the 
House, on the Floor of the House of Representatives or on the Sen- 
ate side to get that legislation through. 

I am hoping that because the presentations that have been made 
by Jose Serrano to President Clinton that this young, vigorous 
President that we have in the White House with all of the things 
that he has on his platter, that when the time comes, he will pro- 
vide the leadership that morally should be provided by our country. 

I will say that it is long overdue. I didn't mean to get into a 
speech or anything like that. 

Let me move on to Benny Cerezo who also made a number of 
statements here which I am sure are not popular with everyone 
who supports the same political status that he supports. 

Mr. Cerezo, you have made a very thoughtfiil analysis. You re- 
ferred to the notion of a level playing field among the status op- 



198 

tions. Are the options all equivalent choices for the people that can 
be made available equally? Is that possible? 

Mr. Cerezo. Mr. Chairman, when the process started in 1989 in 
the Senate, and Senator Johnston came forward with this proposal 
of a level playing field, we all accepted it and I personally didn't 
understand the problems that this would create. I understood ini- 
tially that level playing field was in terms of process, in terms of 
opportunities, of funding, of the same exposure. But it ended up 
with the Senate committee trying to create a level between three 
things that are totally different. 

So it came out that independence came out of the committee, 
that is why I called it for your blessing with U.S. citizenship; state- 
hood, even though that statehood is on equal footing, came out with 
reduced benefits for citizens there, which is laughable in constitu- 
tional terms. Commonwealth came out with almost the same bene- 
fits because they were just trying to create a level situation. 

You know, they were trying to create the same established alter- 
natives and put three different names, three different types, on it. 
It was all absurd. 

That is when the process killed itself. That is when it died. That 
is when it discredited itself, which was a commendable effort by 
Senator Johnston which we should praise. Even though I do have 
this criticism at this stage of the game, I don't want to in any way 
disdain the immense effort that he pat into this process. We should 
all be grateful for this thing of a level playing field. Other than in 
the process, it is impossible because we are talking about three dif- 
ferent things. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Let me say at that point I agree with you. Senator 
Bennett Johnston made a tremendous contribution because he 
forced Members to deal with it and many, many things were said 
that gave not only the people of Puerto Rico but, all of us a clearer 
picture of what the Members of the Senate, or at least of this Com- 
mittee, would accept and what they would not and where they 
stood. So in that sense, it was a tremendous contribution. 

My only regret was with that having failed, they did not embrace 
the approach of the House and make it possible for us to move for- 
ward rather than just letting the whole thing die. 

Mr. Cerezo. If you would allow me, that was part of the process 
of the internal politics of Puerto Rico spilling over, not only the 936 
lobbying effort that Dr. Rameriz has eloquently expressed here, 
which is not only the enemy of statehood now, it would be the 
enemy of independence tomorrow if independence would have a 
vote, or it would be the enemy of commonwealth if it would some- 
how make them lose their status. 

The problem is that the people of Puerto Rico are now hostages 
to this 936. Instead of a banana republic we are a pill republic. In- 
stead of having the banana barons, we have the pill barons, the 
pharmaceutical companies on the island and they fund the war 
chest of the political parties on the island. 

So now you have a party in power in Puerto Rico that is propos- 
ing a plebiscite, that is proposing a November 14 plebiscite and the 
president of that party is right now at this instant walking the 
halls of Congress lobbying for 936 and not here defending the 



199 

rights for self-determination of the people of Puerto Rico. Why? 
Well, let me tell you a very brief story. 

Senator Dorista Rey, the founder of NPP and myself went to 
Senator J. Bennett Johnston at the end of the whole process. We 
said, "Why don't you accept an amendment," that was in the last 
days in 1991, "and somehow incorporate what the House ap- 
proved?" He said, "You don't have even an agreement among your- 
selves." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Rossella doesn't 
want it. The new President of the New Progressive does not want 
the process." And that is it. 

You know, it is all the internal politics. There was a process 
within NPP, the New Progressive Party. Carlos Romero-Barcelo, 
who was committed to statehood, was out. There was a new Presi- 
dent who wanted to get ahold of that and it was incompatible to 
fight for statehood and gaining power and winning elections. So 
they went the way of winning elections. 

Now, since they were the darlings of 936, they are paying their 
dues to 936 instead of paying their dues to the philosophical inspi- 
ration of the party that promoted them which was statehood which 
is being defended here and not 936. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Let me ask a question of Mr. Guzman. You re- 
ferred to the party's proposals for the different status options as 
misleading. I hope you will also recall that this Committee and the 
Senate committees responded to these proposals. Are you, though, 
suggesting that there should not be a process for resolving the 
issue without prior Federal definition of the implementation terms 
of each option? 

Mr. Guzman. Not at all, sir, no. When I refer to in part of my 
testimony as this being a process of self-determination, it is a mu- 
tual process of self-determination. What I think Mr. Serrano's reso- 
lution is not the self-determination of the people of Puerto Rico, be- 
cause people in a democratic society certainly need not do that in 
order to be self-determined. This is the self-determination of this 
Congress. 

Nonetheless, in so doing, you also have to take into account what 
is in the national interest. Is it in the national interests to per- 
petrate for another 40 years the type of shame that we have had 
to face year after year after year before the international commu- 
nity by fostering a type of status that no longer conforms, even if 
it ever did, to parameters for decolonization? 

Is it in the national interest that your fellow citizens in Puerto 
Rico who have no adequate representation in the Congress for vot- 
ing be sold a bill of goods, a white elephant or a pink elephant 
under the guise of a status formula that, ahead of the voting, you 
know that it would never be approved by the Congress. 

That is why I say it is very important for you, as part of the lan- 
guage of this bill, that you exercise your duty to your fellow Amer- 
ican citizens by saying we as a Congress are limited to the type of 
political model that we can consider and, as such, have each of the 
individual formulas pre-qualified. 

What I am really talking about, and it has nothing to do with 
statehood or independence because those are very clear, I would 
not see the Congress as fulfilling its duty and allowing for a com- 
monwealth, as Mr. Cerezo said earlier, with all of the attributes of 



200 

statehood and none of the obligations we know full well ahead of 
time that would not be allowed by the Congress or would not be 
within the powers of Congress to exercise. 

That is what I mean. This is not intervention by any means. I 
realize what you said to Dr. Ramirez before, one thing is interven- 
tion in a free process of self-determination and another thing is dis- 
charging your duties as Congresspersons before, not only your 
Puerto Rican constituents, but the rest of your constituents in the 
nation. 

Is it also in their best interest to allow a formula that does not 
meet, as I said before, the constitutional mandate of the Congress? 
In so doing, in allowing for this, I think we would all be faulting 
truth. 

When Mr. Cerezo talked about a level playing field, I do concur 
with what he said, but would it not be in the best national inter- 
ests to have a level playing field insofar that each of the formula 
that be submitted to the people of Puerto Rico indeed become solu- 
tions and not a continuation of the problem? That is my point. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you. I want to thank all of you. The hour 
is getting late but I want to recognize the gentleman from Puerto 
Rico for any questions he may have of these witnesses. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. I will be brief. I only have a couple of 
questions for Mr. Cerezo. Though I find his testimony very stimu- 
lating, I cannot agree with everything. But there are many, many, 
many parts of it I do agree with. I would like to ask about the 
intervention regarding sports participation and the other participa- 
tion, international participation. 

You mentioned that it was legally possible, but it is unrealistic 
and absurd. Whether it is realistic and absurd, and I do think that 
to raise the issue of sports participation or beauty pageants as a 
condition for solving one's political status or requiring the right to 
vote or the right for participation, it is ridiculous. Those two things 
should not be put at the same level, definitely. 

The people have to be informed. And from a legal point of view 
and Constitutional point of view, do you know of any constitutional 
section or article that gives the Congress the power to determine 
how the States will participate in International Olympics or in 
beauty pageants? 

Mr. Cerezo. No, absolutely not. Both Olympics and beauty pag- 
eants are strictly private affairs, such as the Rotary and the Lions, 
and as such, are protected by the First Amendment of the Con- 
stitution. 

On the contrary, they would enjoy, but still it would be absurd 
and it is unrealistic for the statehood leadership to be proclaiming 
that because that is not the truth. My dear friend, it is not the 
truth. It is unrealistic that we keep on with that pretension of be- 
coming an integral part of the Nation and then being somewhere 
else competing against the Nation, regardless of whether it is un- 
important or not. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Legally and constitutionally, there is 
nothing the U.S. Government could do. They could even put it in 
the enabling act, but then after Puerto Rico became a State, they 
could do what they wanted regarding participation in International 
Olympics. 



201 

Mr. Cerezo. I don't think it would be put in the enabling act. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Even if they did. 

Mr. Cerezo. Yes, I agree with you. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Regarding the language issue, the ena- 
bling act could force Puerto Rico to speak English, it could make 
English the official language. I know you don't agree with that, but 
are you aware that Arizona and New Mexico, when they were ad- 
mitted to the union, the enabling act required that public school in- 
struction be conducted in English and the State officers and legisla- 
tures be proficient enough in reading, writing and speaking Eng- 
lish to conduct the official business in English. 

When New Mexico became a State, in their constitution, they 
made both languages the official languages, for 20 years. Were you 
aware of that? 

Mr. Cerezo. Yes. I am aware of that in New Mexico and also the 
fact that the Hawaii constitution guarantees the right of the lan- 
guage. The problem in Puerto Rico is different from those coun- 
tries. The reality of Puerto Rico is that it is an island 100 by 35 
miles, overpopulated. 

As Mr. Colorado, in a slip of the tongue, said, it would be impos- 
sible to change those language and cultural circumstances unless 
hundreds and hundreds of years go by. In these places, language 
or culture were changed or lost in some cases because they were 
repopulated, populated anew by Anglo-Saxons. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. In larger numbers. 

Mr. Cerezo. In larger numbers. But that is not the case in Puer- 
to Rico because we would just fall off the island into the water. 
That is impossible. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. We are not assimilative. We assimilate. 

Mr. Cerezo. That is what occurred to the McClintocks of life that 
come to Puerto Rico like Dennis's father, and then he has been as- 
similated into the island. To all those teachers who went to the is- 
lands in the early turn of the century when the U.S. Government 
started, the absurd proposition of teaching everyone in English at 
the absolute exclusion of Spanish, they all ended up married in 
Puerto Rico and speaking Spanish and they are in the cemeteries 
on the island. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. When we talk about not including the 
language or culture in the enabling act, it is because there is noth- 
ing the Congress can do about it once Puerto Rico becomes a state, 
correct? 

Mr. Cerezo. Yes, there is protection under the 10th Amendment. 

Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you. 

Mr. de Lugo. The gentleman from New York. 

Mr. Serrano. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank all four for 
your testimony today and for involving us all through your testi- 
mony in further discussion of my resolution. 

I just have comments to both Mrs. Ramirez and Mr. Gallisa. 
Your desire to change the first clause, the first whereas to include 
the wording of those who reside in Puerto Rico, I know what you 
are trying to say about the lack of equality that exists for people 
who live only in Puerto Rico that are Puerto Ricans. 



76-006 0-94-8 



202 

But there are many of us who live outside of the island who feel 
that one of the many reasons we are not equal in this society is 
because of the political status of the islands. 

So I don't think it is totally improper to suggest that the political 
status creates an inequality in how citizens are treated. There are 
many people who will tell you that when they went away to school, 
having been raised in New York, having been born in New York, 
because they were Puerto Ricans, they were looked on as different. 
I know that that could be another discussion as to this society in 
general. 

But I don't think this misspeaks to a truth which is that Puerto 
Ricans are sometimes not treated equally for many reasons and 
one of them is it that there is no definition, that we come from an 
independent nation and therefore we are immigrants. 

Do we come from a State of the Union and therefore we are 
"equal" or do we come from a status that has been reaffirmed re- 
cently? That doesn't exist. That is why we voted the way we did. 

Dr. Ramirez. I understand your feelings on this. As a matter of 
fact, I was brought up out of Puerto Rico. I came back to Puerto 
Rico in 1968. I understand exactly what it is like living in the Unit- 
ed States. Anyway, the thought that this is like a legal document 
and this explanation might not be in the legal document. Since it 
says that Puerto Ricans are not treated as equals, that is why I 
came to the conclusion that it should be clarified if they reside on 
the island. 

In real terms, if you don't reside on the island, then you are 
treated as a regular United States citizen. 

Mr. Serrano. Mr. Gallisa, you and I don't really know each 
other. We know of each other, but I certainly have not had the 
pleasure of working with you. This may come as a total shock to 
you or as a shock perhaps to other people on the panel more than 
to you, but I have known of your work for many years and I respect 
your work and you would be surprised on how many things we 
agree. 

Your statement that I don't start my resolution off from the 
premise that we are a nation of people is correct. I don't. I do be- 
lieve that we are a nation of people. But please understand my sit- 
uation. 

I am a United States Congressman trying to move the issue for- 
ward. If I start from the premise that we are a nation of people, 
the United States Congress, most of the Members I deal with and 
have lunch with and play basketball with and associate with, could 
care less about that statement. 

If I have a chance at all to bring the issue on the table, it is 
starting from the premise that we are citizens but we are not 
equal. From there, this country maybe has to begin to look at that 
relationship. It could be that the final result is independence, state- 
hood, or something reaffirmed in the present status. We don't know 
that. We all have different philosophies about that. 

But I agree with you that, in a perfect situation, if I knew that 
I was going to live 150 years more, then the next 100 would be 
spent in Congress, which make me the longest running Member of 
Congress. Then I would start from the just and correct premise 
which is we were invaded in 1898, therefore, everything after that 



203 

is probably illegal, immoral, and improper. And before we do any- 
thing, we have to go back to that situation. 

But that is not the reality of what I face here as a Member of 
Congress. The reality is that I want to put on the table this discus- 
sion. I want to use any mechanism I have to bring the discussion 
of the fact that, in my opinion, Puerto Rico is a colony. This is be- 
ginning to do it by virtue of just what happened here today. 

How much we can take it from here, how much the Chairman 
can do, how much the Resident Commissioner can do, how much 
I can do, how much all of us can do not to let the issue slip away 
hinges a lot on what the Chairman has said, how this President 
from this generation of Americans, coming from the Vietnam Era 
War and the Civil Rights Movement Era will look at this issue. 

Please understand that my intention was never to deal away the 
fact that we are a nation of people. In fact, my desire to allow for 
you to have us vote on the plebiscite is based on my belief that we 
are a nation of people. 

Those who know me, if you knew me very closely, would know 
that I sometimes get accused by my critics as being very romantic 
in my approach to politics. The romantic, sensitive way would be 
to say everything you have done after 1898 is invalid, let's start 
anew. My time here may not be 20 years in Congress. It may not 
be ten years. Who knows how long I will be here. 

I had to start from the premise I felt was the best political ad- 
vantage I had. That is, you made me a citizen, I never asked for 
it. Now you treat me differently. Let's deal with that issue. 

Mr. Gallisa. Congressman Serrano, I very much appreciate your 
words. I hope perhaps at some time we will have an opportunity 
to talk about these things. I know that you have to go a long way 
to educate people here in Congress about Puerto Rico. I think the 
majority of Congress does not even know where Puerto Rico is and 
can care less. 

I think that education challenge that you have here in Congress 
will have to start by telling the Congress exactly what our history 
is, that we are a nation, that we were invaded in 1898, and that 
ever since that invasion, we have been under colonial rule. 

We have to tell Congress also that our American citizenship was 
an imposition against the will of the Puerto Rican people that ex- 
pressed twice to the House of Representatives at that time against 
the American citizenship. It was undemocratic for us, that process 
that we were forced to become American citizens. 

The leaders here in this country get confused very often. They 
don't know these facts. They might treat our case as a treaty rights 
case, as citizens just being discriminated again. 

In this society, the black people are discriminated against, but 
they don't live in colonialism like we live. They are not a nation 
like we are. I think there is a way for the liberals here in this coun- 
try to look at this issue as a civil rights issue and that is why the 
statehooders have a campaign here in this country, that this is a 
civil rights issue, that this is a case of American citizens discrimi- 
nated against. 

Then, if the issue is put forward that way, the solution would be 
only one, statehood, to put all the citizens under the same equality. 
That is not the issue. 



204 

That is why we have to start saying that we are a nation, be- 
cause it is very different when we start saying that we are a nation 
then when we start saying we are American citizens. It is com- 
pletely different. The outlook is completely different. It is a com- 
pletely different approach to the problem. That is my criticism of 
your resolution, with all due respect. 

Mr. Serrano. I understand that. My comments, with all due re- 
spect, were made based on the fact that you have been very elo- 
quent and very strong in your columns in New York and your radio 
and TV commentary in New York against me or against my resolu- 
tion. 

Mr. Gallisa. Not against you, against your position. 

Mr. Serrano. You went so far as to say that I was helping the 
statehooders by doing this. Just one last comment. You make an 
assumption and the assumption is that the only solution to the way 
I word the resolution, if it is a civil rights issue, is statehood. That 
assumes that this country would be willing to accept Puerto Rico 
as a State. 

None of us is sure of that at this point. That is what a lot of 
statehooders are trying to find out. We don't know whether Puerto 
Rico no longer serves a purpose to the U.S. and therefore is free 
to go. We don't know how bad public relations would be not to 
change the commonwealth. 

What I am trying to do is just kind of nudge them along, nudge 
my brother and sister citizens in this country along and to say lis- 
ten, you have a situation here which is unique not for the relation- 
ship but for me. I was born there. I was raised here. If I go back 
there, I cannot be a Congressman with voting power. If I stay in 
the Bronx, I can be a Congressman. This is all so darn confusing. 
Let's deal with it. 

It is painful at times because you can try to imagine what it is 
like, but unless you are in my situation at this time in history, you 
will never know what it is like to be a member of Congress of the 
oppressing power and have been born and have emotional ties to 
the ones who are politically oppressed. 

At times, you wake up in the middle of the night totally con- 
fused. But I bring myself back to reality immediately and deal with 
it. Thank you. 

Mr. Guzman. May I quickly point something out that has to do 
with Mr. Serrano's remarks? 

Mr. DE Lugo. It will have to be very brief. We are running very 
late. 

Mr. Guzman. Very brief. This will be something for the Commit- 
tee to start in the future as far as the voting that Mr. Serrano has 
proposed. The Federal Relations Act, 5-A, stipulates that any 
United States citizen who resides in Puerto Rico for a period of a 
year or more shall be considered a citizen of Puerto Rico. 

My question, not as a lawyer, is the following: If you forego that 
residency requirement following the petition of Mr. Serrano and 
others, and empower people who do not reside in the island to vote, 
one, you most possibly would be altering the Federal Relations Act. 

Second, if you empower nonresidents under the equal protection 
clauses of the U.S. Constitution, you would almost have to extend 
that vote to every United States citizen because the only reason 



205 

you would be allowing them to vote would be by origin or place of 
birth. And those are two things that you cannot discriminate 
against United States citizens. 

So what I am saying is that you would be converting the plebi- 
scite into a national plebiscite or have a resignation of the Amer- 
ican citizenship of all of those who wish to vote, whether they live 
on the island or outside, 

Thank you for your patience. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you, Mr. Guzman. 

I thank all of you for your presentations here today. 

Mr. de Lugo. We will call our next panel. They have been very 
patient. The Committee would like to welcome at the witness table 
Wilfredo Santiago Valiente, President, United Statehooders Organi- 
zation of New York; and Luis Alvarez of Sparta, New Jersey. 

Our final witness today is a resident of the Island of Puerto Rico, 
Professor Jose Garriga-Pico of the University of Puerto Rico. He is 
scheduled with this panel because he was scheduled late. We know 
him from a valuable conference on Federal insular relations orga- 
nized by the University of the Virgin Islands and other insular uni- 
versities, which was held in February in Washington. We hope that 
he will bring an academic view into our testimony today. 

Let's have our first witness, Mr. Santiago Valiente. 

PANEL CONSISTING OF WILFREDO SANTIAGO VALIENTE, 
PRESIDENT, UNITED STATEHOODERS ORGANIZATION OF 
NEW YORK; LUIS ALVAREZ ARCfflLLA, SPARTA, NEW JER- 
SEY; AND JOSE GARRIGA-PICO, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, 
UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO 

STATEMENT OF WILFREDO SANTIAGO VALffiNTE 

Mr. Santiago Valiente. Thank you. I am President of the 
United Statehooders Organization of New York. The United 
Statehooders wishes to convey some of our concerns over House 
Concurrent Resolution 94. 

First, the resolution should be placed in historical perspective. 

Second, the proposed resolution misconstrues the concept of self- 
determination as initiated by the United Nations and as supported 
by the people of the United States through their representatives in 
that deliberative body. 

Third, the main resolution has to be concise to avoid complica- 
tions. Let me elaborate. Point One, the resolution should be placed 
in historical perspective. The statement of motives should note that 
this is not the first time that Congress expressed itself concerning 
the political status of Puerto Rico. 

For example, the Joint Congress resolution approved on August 
3, 1979, affirms its commitment to respect and support the right 
of the people of Puerto Rico to determine its political future by 
means of a peaceful open and democratic process. 

It also strongly submits, our organization, that the statement of 
motives make reference to the plebiscite on the status to be held 
in Puerto Rico on November 14, 1993 to place the resolution in the 
proper perspective. 

Point Two, the proposed resolution misconstrues the concept of 
self-determination as enunciated by the U.N. 



206 

The third resolution motive states that the Charter of the United 
Nations upholds "the right of self-determination, that is, the right 
of people to decide for themselves the political status under which 
they live" 

This is misleading and outright incorrect. Article 73 of the U.N. 
Charter adopted on October 24, 1945, refers to the administration 
of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure 
of self-government. It makes no reference whatsoever to the ques- 
tion of self-determination. 

Self-determination is the subject of the U.N. Resolution 1514 
(XV) of December 14, 1960, on granting independence to colonial 
territories. This resolution does not apply to statehood or auton- 
omy. Of course statehood and the so-called "culminatio" of the com- 
monwealth status involve the self-determination of the people of 
Puerto Rico. However, they entail the mutual or reciprocal deter- 
mination of the people of the United States as well. 

In the perspective, the United Statehooders Organization sub- 
mits that the reference to self-determination in the third resolution 
motive either be excluded or clarified. 

Point three, the main resolution should be concise yet com- 
prehensive. 

The proposed resolution is overly complicated and even contradic- 
tory. As such, it may be unacceptable to Congress. The proposed 
resolution correctly endorses the right of the people of Puerto Rico 
to political self-determination. However, it relies on Article 73 of 
the U.N. Charter which applies to colonial territories even though 
the government of the United States has repeatedly asserted the 
contrary with respect to Puerto Rico. Moreover, the proposed reso- 
lution implies that the commonwealth status has yet to attain a 
full measure of self-government though Congress also asserts the 
contrary. 

The United Statehooders believe that the resolution should be 
balanced and concise. It should also recognize the reciprocal nature 
of the process of self-determination for Puerto Rico. 

The United Statehooders submit that the Congress reaffirm its 
commitment of August 3, 1979, to "endorse and support the right 
of the people of Puerto Rico to determine its political future by 
means of a peaceful, open and democratic process" and to work in 
concert with the people of Puerto Rico in resolving the question of 
its status according to the principle of self-determination in the 
case of the option of independence and in the context of its con- 
stitutional framework in the case of statehood and administrative 
autonomy. 

Thank you. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Santiago Valiente follows:] 



207 



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Statement of the United Statehooders Organization of .New York 

before the House Insular Subcommittee on Congress Resolution No. 9 

Regarding Self-Determinat ion for Puerto Rico. 

Good Morning. My name is Wilfredo Santiago Valiente. I am 
President of the United Statehooders Organization of New York. The 
United Statehooders is a civic organization that promotes the full 
political equality of our fellow Puerto Ricans and citizens 
residing in the island under the status of federated statehood. 

The United Statehooders wishes to convey several concerns over 
the proposed Congress Resolution No. 94 regarding self-determination 
by the people of Puerto Rico. 

First, the resolution should be placed in historical 
perspective! 

Second, the proposed resolution miscontrues the concept of 
self-determination as ennuciated by the United Nations and as 
supported by the people of the United States through their 
representatives in that deliberative, body; and, 

Third, the main resolution ought to be concise, to avoid 
complications. In the least it should reassert the commitment of 
Congress "to respect and support the right of the people of Puerto 
Rico to determine its political future by means of a peaceful, open 
and democratic process in concert with the Congress of the United 
States" as resolved by Congress on August, 1979. 

Let me briefly elaborate. 

Point 1: The resolution should be placed in historical perspective. 

The statement of motives should note that this is not the 
first time that Congress expresses itself concerning the political 
status of Puerto Rico. For example, the Joint Congress Resolution 
approved on August 3, 1979 affirms its "commitment to respect and 
support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to determine its 
political future by means of a peaceful, open and democratic 
process" . 

The United Statehooders Organization submits that the Joint 
Congress Resolution of August 3, 1993 embodies the main elements of 
a concise yet comprehensive resolution. 

It also strongly submits that the statement of motives make 
reference to the plebiscite on the status to be held in Puerto Rico 
on November 14, 1993 to place the resolution in the proper 
perspective. 



208 



Point 2: The proposed resolution misconstrues the concept of self- 
determination as ennunciated by the U.N. . 

The third resolution motive states that the Charter of the 
United Nations upholds "the right of self-determination, that is, the 
right of a people to decide for themselves the political status 
under which they live" This is misleading and outright incorrect. 
Article 73 of the U.N. Charter adopted on October 2*t, 19<t5 refers 
to the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet 
attained a full measure of self-government. It makes oo reference 
whatsoever to the question of self-determination. 

Self-determination is the subject of the U.N. Resolution 1514 
(XV) of December 14, 1960 on granting independence to colonial 
territories. This resolution does not apply to statehood or 
autonomy. Of course statehood and the so-called "culmination" of 
the commonwealth status involve the self-determination of the 
people of Puerto Rico. However, they entail the mutual or 
reciprocal determination of the people of the United States as 
wel 1 . 

In this perspective, the United Statehooders Organization 
submits that the reference to self-determination in the third 
resolution motive either be excluded or clarified. 

Point 3: The main resolution should be concise yet comprehensive. 

The proposed resolution is overly complicated and even 
contradictory. As such it may be unacceptable to Congress. The 
proposed resolution correctly endorses the right of the people of 
Puerto Rico to political self-determination. However, it relies on 
Article 73 of the U.N. Charter which applies to colonial territories 
even though the government of the United States has repeatedly 
asserted the contrary with respect to Puerto Rico. Moreover, the 
proposed resolution implies that the commonwealth status has yet to 
attain a full measure of self-government though Congress also 
asserts the contrary. 

The United Statehooders believe that the resolution should be 
balanced and concise. It should also recognise the reciprocal 
nature of the process of self-determination for Puerto Rico. 

The United Statehooders submit that the Congress reaffirm its 
its commitment of August 3, 1979 to "endorse and support the right 
of the people of Puerto Rico to determine its political future by 
means of a peaceful, open and democratic process" and to work in 
concert with the people of Puerto Rico in resolving the question of 
its status according to the principle of self-determination in the 
case of the option of independence and in the context of its 
constitutional framework in the case of statehood and 
administrative autonomy. 

Thank You. 



209 

Mr. DE Lugo. Our next witness is Mr. Luis Alvarez Archilla of 
Sparta, New Jersey. 

STATEMENT OF LUIS ALVAREZ ARCHILLA 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Alvarez Archilla as read in Spanish 
and summary in English follow:] 



210 



Supplemental Information 

Luis Alvarez Archilla 
21 Longview Rd. 
Sparta, !f J 07871 

(202) 729-2327 



Summary of Comments and Recommendation 

Concurrent resolution 94 must explicitly address 
the Congress acceptance or rejection of each one of 
the three status options in Puerto Rico's 
plebiscite. 

Congress must clearly reject the statehood option 
for Puerto Rico based on the grounds that Puerto 
Rico is a different social entity, with a different 
language, culture and history. Puerto Rico is a 
latin american nation. 

If Congress is not willing to express its action in 
each one of the status options, the plebiscite 
should be under United Nations supervision. 

Who, how , when, what and with whom the Congress will 
negotiate the people of Puerto Rico selected status 
option. 



211 



Reft Lois iinm Archills 
Personal 



Chairman Ron De Logo 

Dtotinguldo* Mtombro* del Subeomlt* de Asuntos Insular** 

Dtmu y Caballaro* 

Ruevament* no* encontramo* aqui par* exponer *e«re* d*l at*toi politico de Puerto Rico, 
•sta v*s lo hao*mo* si oplnar sobr* 1* resoludon conjunta Ho. 94, pr — n t*d* por *1 
Representanta Jos* 8*rrano. A primer* vista **t* resoludon *p*r*nta tener todo el 
contenldo aoeesarlo para apoyar el plebtsdto • celebrars* en Puerto Rico el proximo 
Novlembre. L*s aparieadaa engafian. B*ta resolncioa me presented* durante o d*spa*s que 
1* Laglslatur* colonial da Puerto Rico aprobera 1* lay y ea dlscutld* hoy, d**pu*s que el 
gobernador colonial da Puerto Rico firmandola la co nvlrtlar a an lay. (Ruegole * lo* 
concurrent** me perdonen por usar la expredon colonial en referenda a la Legls l s tur * y el 
gobernador de Puerto Rico/pero no encontre otra palabra que pudlera descrlbir la sltusdon 
d* un pal* donde s* oon*ld*r* an plebisclto para deddir su statu* politico). 
La r**oludon conjunta 94 tiene qua sar pr*dsa an su contenldo pu**to que sa encuentra 
badendo referenda a un pleMdto donde se presentan como soludon si status politico de 
la tola la Batadldad, el Be tad o Libre Asodado y la Indep en d en da. La resoludon conjunta 94 
deb* aer redaetada de forma tal qua lneluya una referenda a cad a una de las opdone* 
presentadas en *1 plebtodto d* Puerto Rico. EI Congr*so de lo* Estadoe Unldo* no pu*d* 
rehutr • su r*spons*bllld*d con retodon al status de Puerto Rico puesto que es part* 
integrant* d* la actual dtnadon de la tola. La resoludon conjunta 94 pued* y d*b* ser el 
vebieulo donde el Congreso de B*tado* Unldo* aa rpre a e sn poal d o n reapacto * cada ana da 
las opdone* pr***ntadaa en el plebtodto. De no sar ad est* plebtodto debera celabrars* 
bajo lo* ausptdoa de la Radon** Unldas pu**to que no extoten garanttas, por parte del 
Congreso de lo* Batadoa Unldoa, de qne *1 resultade del plebtodto ser* utUlaado como 
centro de negoctocion para Boluelonar por una vea y por todas el statu* politico d* Puerto 
Rico. Cualquier resoludon que el Congreso de lo* Bstados Unldoa aprueba que no este 
encamlnada a *xpresars* en la forma anterlormente mendonada a* una burla al pueblo de 
Puer t o Rico puesto que no bay garantlas que la formula elegtda vaya a ser negodada con 
•1 Congreso del lo* Estadoe Unldoa. Por otro lad© un reenaao del Congreso * una formula 
escogida en el plebtodto o una negodadon a media* tandra efectoe devustadores para 
Puerto Rico. 

Antes de entrar de Ueno en la propuesta concreta sobre el status en la resoludon conjunta 
94, deseo bacer da oonodm lento del oomlte que la lay aprobada an Puerto Rico no estipula 
nada acerca de la sodon a tomarsa con lo* resulted©* dd plebtodto (otra oosa qua no sea 
la certiflcadon de lo* resulted o* al Congreso de lo* Bstados Unldoa). Bsto tal v*s debido a 
que d partido gobemante en Puerto Rico, propulsor de la anexion a loa Bstados Unidos o 
estadldad, no **ta seguro de que su formula vaya a trtunfar en d plebtodto y reebasa to 
negodadon con d Congreso de lo* estados Unidos de otra oosa que no sea la anexion a los 
Bstados Unldo*. El Comlslonado Raddente de Puerto Rico aqul en d Congreso daramente 



212 



PmgJaa-2- 

seaalo baee vaxiaa ■— M— • los medio* informatrvo* que «1 la formula d« estadldad ao 
trraafaba al ao p«"* 4 ' >l r** < « ~» «■«■§■« «*j«M<i««i«>«i T.a rosolndon **—ja**» a* h m . j t/Am 
laeloir qnlaaas vaa a aagodar, qua a* va a aegodar, enaade y coma a* va a aegodar y qolaa 
tleae la aprobadon final de esas negodadones. 

La raaolaolon oonjuata 94 daba laolnir las dgnlontos ooalaaloaaa raapacto a laa traa 
formula* da status eoaaldaradaa an la lay da plebiscite: 

Estadldad- 

Sl rongjato da las B.U. ao aeeptara a Puerto Wee oomo ua astado da la 
onion debido a que Puerto Rico as un ants social dlstlnto a lot astados 
da la union. Dlstlnto an «u culture, an sn lenguaje y an sn hlsterla. 
Puerto Rico es aacioa aispanoamericana. 

Independence • 

K Cengraso do B.U. notodara con lot raprasantantas da esta formula 
e lea qve al pueblo eltya, la eraadon da la Republic* de Puerto Rico. 

Como d Bstado Libra Asodado (status quo) represent* d pacto vigante, d triunfo da esta 
opdon podblamanta raqnarlra otro mandate r e ap e c to a que es lo que va a negodar. 



Hacbas Qradas. 



213 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you very much, Mr. Alvarez. 

Mr. Alvarez. Do you want me to make a summary of the com- 
ments and recommendations? 

Mr. DE Lugo. No. We have it here and it will be placed in the 
record. Thank you for providing that to us. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Now our next witness will be the professor Jose 
Garriga-Pico. 

STATEMENT OF JOSE GARRIGA-PICO 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I really wanted to 
thank you and Mr. Serrano for waiting to hear what we have to 
say. I guess everybody is tired from a very long day. I will just 
present my statement for the record and highlight some of my com- 
ments. 

Mr. DE Lugo. That is very thoughtful and considerate of you. We 
appreciate that. Without objection, your entire statement will be 
placed in the record at this point. 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. I wanted to point out the fact that there are 
two versions of my statement. I want to be sure the one that gets 
in is the one I brought this morning, not the one I faxed, because 
there were problems with that. 

Mr. Chairman, I will not burden you to listening again to how 
Puerto Ricans are a nation and how from that fact grows the right 
of self-determination of the Puerto Rican people in order to choose 
the political structure that will administer sovereignty over its peo- 
ple and over its destiny. 

I will not again burden you with listening to all the history about 
our nationalities, a sociological term that is united with a political 
term which is a state and how that forms a nation state and how 
that leads to the kind of political organization in which we are in- 
volved at the moment and therefore the right of the people of Puer- 
to Rico to decide which State to belong to, whether to belong to the 
general state of the United States or an independent state or an 
associated state grows from the fact that we are a nation. 

I do want to point out, though, that I think and I recommend 
that you approve this concurrent resolution, but that I feel that you 
have to take into account that there are certain implications of 
what you are saying which I will read, if you would allow me. 

The fact that Puerto Ricans have a right to self-determination 
and that the Congress recognize this right which they have not en- 
joyed fully is not an inconsequential one. To admit that Puerto Rico 
has a right to self-determination, has political consequences that 
the Congress is well-advised to consider. 

First, the United States is accepting that Puerto Rico is in a 
state of political subordination short of what is internationally ac- 
ceptable. 

Second, the United States must recognize its duty to act with all 
due intent and speed to see that Puerto Rico is able to exercise 
fully its right to self-determination, whether you made that ex- 
pressly in the resolution or not. 

Third, the United States must recognize the right of the Puerto 
Rican people to appropriately assign their own mechanisms for con- 
sultation and decide about their future based under their right to 
self-determination without the interference of the United States. 



214 

Fourth, when the Puerto Ricans communicate their decision, the 
United States Government must be receptive and respectful of the 
results and must assure a prompt consideration of their request 
from the Puerto Rican people. 

Five, in case the Puerto Rican request is not fully acceptable to 
the United States Congress, the Puerto Ricans have the right to ex- 
pect an expeditious process of negotiation regarding possible alter- 
natives and compromises. 

Six, in case that the Puerto Rican people petition and the Con- 
gress is willing to grant any status option other than independence, 
the Congress must recognize that the right to self-determination of 
the people of Puerto Rico will not be extinguished as long as a 
Puerto Rican culture and nationality can be said to exist. 

I know that this brings out all the topics that have been dis- 
cussed today. I know the chairman is aware of these. I want to end 
my words by mentioning some recommendations that I have on 
page 13 at the end of my paper. 

First, I think that the resolution could be amended to recognize 
more clearly that a plebiscite has been called by local law in which 
the three major political parties, each defending one of the tradi- 
tional formulas are vowed to participate. I think that this plebiscite 
may be more valid. It is really a plebiscite. 

I really resent those who say this is not a real plebiscite because 
we are legislating it ourselves. I think that is a colonial mentality 
at work. We can legislate for ourselves and listen to ourselves and 
decide what we want. 

Moreover, for the first time in the history of Puerto Rico, the 
three formulas will be represented and backed by the parties that 
traditionally defend these formulas. This is the first time that all 
the political forces are really going to participate. 

Second, express the sense of the Congress that such plebiscite is 
agreeable with its desire to promptly dispose of the territory pursu- 
ant to its authority under the territorial clause of the Constitution. 
That does not really bias resolution in one way or the other. It is 
just saying the intent of the Congress is to see what happens in 
this plebiscite; to really act expeditiously in order to end the colo- 
nial situation. 

Third, recommend the establishment of a fast track mechanism 
to consider legislation to respond to whatever choice the people of 
Puerto Rico may make in the plebiscite. I know that the members 
of a statehood party oppose this, and it is because they feel that 
that may impede a success of their formula. However, it is the 
right of the rest of the Puerto Rican people to know what the Con- 
gress thinks about a petition that they may have made. 

Fourth, establish a joint congressional Puerto Rican commission 
to maintain an official dialogue between the leaders of the parties 
that defend the status formula in Puerto Rico and the congres- 
sional leadership in charge of legislation regarding the island. 

I am convinced that we are engaged in a process that will bring 
about the end of the centuries' old colonial condition of Puerto Rico. 
The most important thing in this process is that both American 
and Puerto Rican leaders promote that the Puerto Rican people 
squarely face the choices they have to make regarding their future 
as a people. 



215 

Self-determination means that we ask ourselves and find an- 
swers to questions of who we are, who do we want to be, where do 
we want to go, by which principles to do we want to live, how are 
we going to integrate ourselves into the rest of the world. 

Congress could not provide the answers to these questions even 
if it wanted to. Approving the concurrent resolution now under con- 
sideration should help us begin a process to find our own answers. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Thank you very much, Professor. That is very 
helpful to us. 

[Prepared statement of Mr. Garriga-Pico follows:] 



216 

UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO 

Rio Piedras Campus 

Department of Political Science 



STATEMENT 
by Prof. Jose" Garriga-Pic6 



at the Public Hearings held by the Sub-Committee on Insular and 

International Affairs (Committee of the Interior) chaired by the Mr. Ron De 

Lugo, Resident Commissioner from the U.S. Virgin Islands regarding the 

Concurrent Resolution presented by Mr. Jos6 Serrano of New York, 

expressing the Sense of Congress 



REGARDING THE EXPRESSION OF SELF-DETERMINATION 

BY THE PUERTO RICAN PEOPLE 

(H. CON. RES. 94.) 



Tuesday, July 13, 1993 in 1324 Longworth, HOB., Washington D. C. 



217 

Congress and the Self-Determination 
of the Puerto Ricans 

By Jos6 Garriga Pied, Ph.D. (l) 

(INTRODUCTION) 

Mr. President: I wish to thank you for this opportunity to address the 
Committee. For the record, my name is Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 and I am a 
Professor of Political Science at the University of Puerto Rico. I have asked 
to be allowed to testify as a Puerto Rican and as a long time student of Puerto 
Rican Politics. The views that I express do not necessarily reflect the 
opinions of the University of Puerto Rico. 

Like most Puerto Ricans, I have a known status-preference and belong 
to a political party. In my case, I favor independence and am a rank-and-file 
member of the Puerto Rican Independence Party but I am not participating 
here as a member of that party's delegation and the opinions I express 
cannot, in any way, be interpreted to represent those of that party. 

I hope that my presentation will help you in evaluating the Concurrent 
Resolution presented by Mr. Jos6 Serrano of New York, expressing the Sense 
of Congress "Regarding the Expression of Self-Determination by the Puerto 
Rican People" (H. CON. RES. 94.) 



w Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Puerto Rico, Rfo 
Piedras Campus, P.O.Box 23345, Rfo Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931. Tel (809) 
753-6044, Fax (809) 763-5599. 



218 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 Page -2- 



(SUPPORT FOR THE RESOLUTION) 

Mr. President, in general, I feel that the Congress would be helping the 
self-determination of the Puerto Rican People by approving this Concurrent 
Resolution. 

We Puerto Ricans have never been able to exercise fully our right to 
self-determination, largely due to the selective actions and inactions of 
Congress. The resolution presented by Mr. Serrano commits the Congress to 
promote our process of self-determination without excessive interference in 
the process. 
(SELF-DETERMINATION) 

Self-determination is 'the right of a people to determine the way in 
which they shall be governed and whether they shall be self-governed or 
governed by another power.' * Even if a people chose to be governed by 
another power or another people, however, the exercise of self-determination 
is incomplete and thus waiting for adequate satisfaction. 

This is the case of the Puerto Ricans with respect to the Congress of 



2) The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, College Edition, 
Laurence Urdang (Ed.), Random House, New York. El Pequeno Larrouse 
Spanish Dictionary defines the autodeterminacidn as 'la libre decisidn de los 
pobladores de un territorio acerca de sujuturo estatuto politico ' which translates 
loosely as the free decision of the inhabitants of a territory regarding its future 
political statute ie. constitution. 



219 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jose" Garriga-Picd Page -3- 



the United States: we have never exercised full self-determination. Adequate 
satisfaction of this right requires that the people engaged in the act of self- 
determination become significant actors in a sovereign state, in the state that 
exercises ultimate sovereignty over them. (3) The people exercising self- 
determination may choose to create a new, independent state, with its own 
sovereignty. Or they can choose to partake in the exercise of an existing 
state's sovereignty through annexation or free association. In any case, self- 
determination must entail access to full participation, with equality of rights 
and privileges, in the state that exercises sovereignty over them. 

Put another way, if after a process of self-determination, a people 
cannot be said to have created an independent state or to have full 
participation in the bodies of a previously existing state of which they are 



3) BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY, 6TH EDITION defines Sovereignty as: 
"The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which any 
independent state is governed...; the self-sufficient source of 
political power, from which all specific political powers are derived; 
the international independence of a state, combined with the right 
and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation; 
also a political society, or state, which is sovereign and 
independent. The power to do everything in a state without 
accountability, -to make laws, to execute and to apply them, to 
impose and collect taxes and levy contributions, to make war or 
peace, to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign 
nations, and the like..." 



220 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Picd Page -4- 



now a part of or to which they have associated themselves, real self- 
determination cannot be said to have occurred. 
(SOCIOLOGICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF THE RIGHT TO SELF- 
DETERMINATION) 

Hence, self-determination is the primary act of a people's sovereignty 
over itself as a nation and over their social institutions. As such, self- 
determination is inextricably tied to the concept of a people as a nationality, 
in the sociological sense of the word. A nationality in contemporary social 
science is a group of people whose members have a common historical 
Origin, share a culture and social institutions, and through these, have 
developed a sense of sharing a common identity, of belonging together now 
and in the future (4) 



4) It is true that in common English parlance and in legal usage, nationality is 
used to indicate political citizenship. Hence, according to BLACK'S LAW 
DICTIONARY, 6TH EDITION, Nationality is: 

"That quality or character which arises from the fact of a person's 
belonging to a nation or state. Nationality determines the political 
status of the individual, especially with reference to allegiance; 
while domicile determines his civil status. Nationality arises either 
by birth or by naturalization." 

The meaning that I want to underscore here is the one given by Random 
House Dictionary, College Edition: 



221 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jose" Garriga-Picd Page -5- 



In modern political theory and international jurisprudence and practice 
it has become a recognized principle that every group defined by its 
sociological characteristics as a national group has an inalienable right to 
decide freely which political structure shall exercise political sovereignty over 
them and the form in which this sovereignty should be exercised . (5) 
(ROOTS OF THE PUERTO RICAN NATIONALITY AND RIGHT TO 
SELF-DETERMINATION) 

The right of Puerto Ricans to self-determination emerges from the 
historical fact that Puerto Ricans are a nation: a people that can trace its 
roots in the Island to a date earlier than the arrival of the Pilgrims in 
Plymouth Rock; a people who had developed a distinctive culture, and 
developed functional social, economic, and political structures scores before 
American troops landed in the Island; a people who have retained a sense of 
a separate identity even after 100 years of American colonial domination; a 



"(4) an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family often 
speaking the same language or cognate languages" 

(S)) Furthermore, it has been recognized that although the process of self- 
determination can lead to annexation or association with other existing states, the 
peoples exercising self-determination can only claim an inalienable right to 
independence since annexation and association must be the result of negotiations 
with the representatives of other states. 



222 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 Page -6- 



people who are at this very moment claiming the right to decide how they 
will forge their future together. 

Self-determination, therefore, is the inalienable right of the Puerto 
Rican People to make the fundamental decisions regarding where and in 
which institutions the power to exercise ultimate sovereignty over them 
should reside and in which way to organize their political life. 

In this quest, as I shall later show, the major impediment to the 
exercise of Puerto Rican self-determination, in theory and in practice, has 
been the exercise by Congress of its plenary powers over Puerto Rico. w 
(CONSEQUENCES OF OUR RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION) 

The fact that Puerto Ricans have a right to self-determination which 
they have not enjoyed fully is not an inconsequential one. To admit that 
Puerto Rico has a right to self-determination has political and juridical 
consequences that the Congress is well advised to consider: 

First, the United States is accepting that Puerto Rico is in a state of 
political subordination short of what is internationally acceptable. 

Second, the United States must recognize its duty to act with all due 
intent and speed to see that Puerto Rico is able to exercise fully its right to 
self-determination. 



<*» See US v. Sanchez . 992 F.2d 1 143 (1993). 



223 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jose Garriga-Picd Page -7- 



Third, the United States must recognize the right of the Puerto Rican 
people to, Mom Proprio, assemble, design their own mechanisms for 
consultation and decide about their future, based on their right to self- 
determination without the interference of the United States. 

Fourth, when the Puerto Ricans communicate their decision, the 
United States government must be receptive and respectful of the results and 
must assure a prompt consideration of the requests from the Puerto Rican 
People. 

Fifth, in case the Puerto Rican request is not fully acceptable to the U. 
S. Congress, the Puerto Ricans have a right to expect an expeditious process 
of negotiation regarding possible alternatives and compromises. 

Sixth, in case the Puerto Rican people petition for, and the Congress is 
willing to grant any status option other than independence, the Congress must 
recognize that the right to self-determination of the People of Puerto Rico 
will not be extinguished as long as a Puerto Rican culture and nation can be 
said to exist. 

In sum, an acceptance by the Congress of the right of Puerto Ricans to 
self-determination is a policy statement full of long-range consequences in the 
context of applicable international law and precedents. 
(CONGRESSIONAL INACTION ON THE SELF-DETERMINATION OF 
PUERTO RICO) 



224 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 Page -8- 



The Congress is well-advised to consider the implications of a 
declaration of the right of the Puerto Rican People to self-determination 
because in the past its action, or inactions, have been the principal 
impediment to the implementation of the will of the Puerto Rican People. 

In 1899, Puerto Rican patriot Eugenio Maria de Hostos, demanded of 
the United States a plebiscite on the Island in order to determine the will of 
the Puerto Ricans regarding their future relationship with the United States, 
but his request was disregarded by the Congress. Thus the Foraker Act of 
1900 which instituted an official political relation between Puerto Rico and 
the United States, most of which still remains intact, was imposed upon us 
without officially consulting the people regarding its provisions. 

The same happened with our second Organic Law, the Jones Act. 
Moreover, by its provisions, in 1917, Puerto Ricans were made American 
citizens without consulting them in a referendum and against the official 
recommendation of the Insular House of Representatives which at that time 
was the only fully elective body of the Puerto Rican Government. 

Although there was a series of referenda and elections in the period 
between 1950 and 1952 to institute the present Commonwealth status and to 
draft its Constitution, none was a plebiscite that included the options of 
independence or statehood even though there were parties advocating these 
formulas. 



225 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jose" Garriga-Pic6 Page -9- 



Since the Commonwealth Status was instituted, the United States 
Congress has steadfastly refused to make any changes in the relationship 
between Puerto Rico and the United States. Cosmetic changes proposed in 
1953 were not approved by Congress. In 1959, the so-called Fernds-Murray 
Bill which proposed important changes died in committee. In 1962, 
correspondence between John F. Kennedy and Luis Munoz Marin aimed at 
fine tuning the Commonwealth failed to produce any changes. 

Finally, in 1966, the Congress did approve the formation of a Status 
Commission which recommended conducting a plebiscite which occurred the 
following year. That plebiscite had major flaws: it was "requested" by the 
Congressional delegation but it did not receive a Congressional commitment 
to respect Puerto Rico's right to self-determination such as is established in 
the Concurrent Resolution now under consideration; it was conducted against 
the expressed will of the two major opposition parties, the Statehood 
Republican Party and Puerto Rican Independence Party, that had participated 
in the Status Commission in defense of the other formulas. These two parties 
abstained and the formulas were defended by ad hoc groups created under the 
provisions of the law. 

Even though the winning formula was the Commonwealth and a 
mechanism was devised to create commissions to advise the Congress on 
possible changes to that status, no important alterations were even considered 



226 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 Page -10- 



and the mechanism to offer proposed changes died of inaction. 

The 1977 proposal by President Gerald Ford to make Puerto Rico a 
state and the promises of Republican candidates and administrations to make 
Puerto Rico a state during the 1980's were all made without officially 
consulting the people of Puerto Rico. But given the Congress's unwillingness 
to act on the question of status, these promises came and went with those 
candidates and administrations. 

Finally between 1989 and 1991, a so-called Dialogue Committee 
composed of the Presidents of Puerto Rico's three main political parties 
began a lobbying process in the Congress by which they were able to 
promote specific legislation both in this Subcommittee and in the Energy 
Committee of the Senate. Needless to remind you, the legislation did not 
pass the committee stage. 

In sum, in the exercise of its plenary powers over Puerto Rico, 
Congress has been the major impediment in allowing the consultation of the 
Puerto Rican people or in the process of turning into legislation whatever the 
Puerto Rican people request. Moreover, the statement by the presidents of 
the three major political parties in their letter to President George Bush in 
1989 remains true: the Puerto Rican People have never been formally 
consulted regarding their choice between the three status formulas. 



10 



227 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Picd Page -11- 



(CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PLEBISCITE TO BE CONDUCTED IN 
PUERTO RICO) 

The Concurrent Resolution now under consideration seems like an 
appropriate first step to turn this situation around. In fact, at this moment, 
since a bill has been signed into law in Puerto Rico to conduct a plebiscite 
later this year, it may be a better alternative than trying to legislate a 
federally sponsored plebiscite since it respects the right of local initiative by 
the self-determining people on the issue. 

The plebiscite that has been approved in Puerto Rico shall be a valid 
exercise of our right to self-determination. Mind you, it is not the final 
exercise of our right to self-determination. Nor could it be, since such a 
right exists as long as an ethnic group remains cohesive and able to be 
mobilized on the basis of their shared identity. But it shall be an important 
expression of our will to self-determine ourselves. 

Some critics in Puerto Rico have claimed that the plebiscite is a 
worthless exercise because it does not bind the Congress to accept and 
implement whatever the people of Puerto Rico decide. Obviously, the results 
of this plebiscite cannot legally bind this or future Congresses, but not even a 
Congressionally-mandated plebiscite could accomplish that. For self- 
determination purposes, moreover, the important thing is not to assure that 
the Congress is bound to accept particular definitions of the formulas but to 



li 



228 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jos6 Garriga-Pic6 Page -12- 



assure both, the free expression of the Puerto Rican people, and Congress's 
willingness to negotiate based on that expression. The Resolution under 
consideration would give federal support to the plebiscite without intruding 
excessively in the decision as, for example, defining the formulas to be voted 
upon might do. 

The plebiscite that will be held in November of this year in Puerto Rico 
may be the most valid exercise of self-determination to date, since the 
previous referenda or plebiscites did not offer all three formulas for 
consideration and/or were boycotted by important political sector. 

In 1952, the three formulas were not included in the ballot and the 
independentistas (at that time the second largest electoral force in the Island) 
refused to participate in the drafting and approval of the Commonwealth 
Constitution. And in 1967, the plebiscite was conducted against those who 
supported the two formulas that were defeated. 

This year, all the formulas appear on the ballot and they are to be 
represented by the parties that have traditionally defended them. 

Moreover, the process of dialogue between the Congressional 
Committees and the leadership of the parties during the period 1989-1991 
helped to clarify aspects of the possible relations that Puerto Rico may have 
with the United States under the different status alternatives in a way that had 
not been done previously. 



12 



229 



Subcommittee on Insular and International Affairs, July 13, 1993 

Statement by Professor Jose" Garriga-Pico" Page -13- 



Hence, the situation seems ripe for the Puerto Ricans to consult 
themselves regarding their preferences on the status of the Island and the 
November plebiscite seems to be an appropriate mechanism to gauge those 
preferences. 
(PROPOSED AMENDMENTS) 

The Concurrent Resolution now under consideration must be seen as a 
complement to the Plebiscite. What the resolution is missing, however, are 
mechanisms to make official the dialogue between the leadership of these 
Congressional Committees and the Puerto Rican leaders of the three 
persuasions, and for prompt consideration and action on whatever outcome 
emerges from the plebiscite. The resolution could be amended to: 

1 . Recognize that a plebiscite has been called by local law in which the 

three major political parties, each defending one of the traditional 
formulas have vowed to participate. 

2. Express the sense of the Congress that such a plebiscite is consistent 

with its desire to promptly dispose of the territory pursuant to its 
authority under the territorial clause of the Constitution. 



230 

Mr. de Lugo. Well, I have some questions for each one of the 
witnesses. First of all, Mr. Santiago Valiente, with regard to your 
questioning of the resolution's reference to self-determination as 
being a principle espoused in the U.N. Charter, you may want to 
look at Articles 1 (2) and 55 of the charter, in addition to Article 
73 on the nonself-governing territories. We will supply you with 
those citations. 

Some of your other points are very well taken and your sugges- 
tions are helpful to the Committee. I want to thank you for your 
thoughtfulness . 

Let me ask you two questions. One is your view of the plebiscite 
which the Government of Puerto Rico has decided upon, and I also 
want to ask you as a Puerto Rican resident in a state, and a state- 
hood supporter, to address the issue of whether Puerto Rican resi- 
dents in the States should be able to participate in the status deci- 
sion by Puerto Rico. Let us just take that last question. 

Mr. Santiago Valiente. Well, let me tell you I have some res- 
ervations with the participation of Puerto Ricans in the mainland, 
and basically it is a logical, a kind of logical approach. For exam- 
ple, let's suppose that for one reason or another, let's say the posi- 
tion of the island takes hold and suddenly independence gets a 
foothold in the island. Suppose further that Puerto Ricans see a 
vote and they vote for statehood. 

How will we be able to, in a sense, work out a solution in the 
case of the island if Puerto Ricans prefer independence, and for one 
reason or another Puerto Ricans on the mainland move the deci- 
sion in favor of statehood? Would the people of Puerto Rico accept 
that condition? 

This is basically a matter of putting the whole thing, the whole 
process in a logical perspective. It will lead, I think, to complica- 
tions, to complications if we accept a process that might in one way 
or another in certain circumstances put a hold on the will of the 
island of Puerto Rico. 

The Puerto Ricans residing on the island, they are the ones that 
will have to push forward with whatever status they pick. Puerto 
Ricans here, my feeling is that Puerto Ricans here have still a ro- 
mantic view of the island, with my due respect to Congressman 
Serrano. Romanticism cannot decide this process. 

Most of the Puerto Ricans live here for such logical reasons. 
When they retire, they don't retire in Puerto Rico. In New York, 
they tend to retire in Florida, for example. So my feeling is that 
the islanders, they have to decide by themselves. They have to 
make a choice, and whatever choice they make, they have to have 
the responsibility to push that choice. 

So I am a little concerned that Puerto Ricans here participate. 
It is a matter of principle. It is a matter of a logical decision proc- 
ess that might — Puerto Ricans here, in certain circumstances, 
might basically thwart the will of the people of Puerto Rico. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Let me address a question to Mr. Alvarez. The 
Serrano resolution would state that the people of Puerto Rico have 
the right to decide the island's future status. 

Now, of course, the Congress would also need to decide on the 
status. You are saying that Congress should deny statehood. 
Should the Congress not respond, though, to the will of the people 



231 

when there is a local determination and petition and not foreclose 
options to the people? 

Mr. Alvarez. Well, you are not foreclosing options. You are tell- 
ing what they will — this is a pact. This is between two entities. 
This entity must tell these people which compromise I will accept. 
And the statehood and the commonwealth is something that has to 
be negotiated. The independence is a right. We have a right for 
independence, but the other two we have to negotiate. 

I have the feeling, the political feeling, that the Congress will not 
accept Puerto Rico as a State of the Union because the social cli- 
mate in Puerto Rico will bring the Congress of the United States — 
Puerto Rico is a different nation. Even in my language in commu- 
nicating with you today, you will see that feeling. 

Mr. de Lugo. You have also raised the question of what happens 
after the plebiscite. Given the plebiscite law that has already been 
enacted, what do you think should happen after the plebiscite? 

Mr. Alvarez. Well, somehow, see, the law does not say anything 
about it. They are waiting for this to happen and then, if they win, 
if the political party that is in power wins, they will do whatever 
they need to do to go ahead with it. If they don't win, it stays there. 
That is my opinion. 

Mr. de Lugo. That is my question. What happens if statehood 
does not win? What happens if one of the other parties wins; then 
who should Congress talk to? 

Mr. Alvarez. Congress should talk to the party that went into 
the plebiscite and the representative of that option. 

Mr. DE Lugo. To the representatives of the winning option? 

Mr. Alvarez. Right. 

Mr. de Lugo. All right. 

Professor, your statement is also very helpful. It makes a good 
case for the resolution and I am going to tell Congressman Serrano 
that he has an ally. I know he wishes he was here to have heard 
you. 

You suggest referring to the plebiscite in the resolution's lan- 
guage itself. Are you troubled by the lack of a clear process for de- 
termining a plebiscite winner? 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. In Puerto Rico, you mean? 

Mr. de Lugo. Yes. 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Yes. As a matter of fact, I could send you a 
copy of my statement to the local legislative committees consider- 
ing the law that is implementing the plebiscite. 

Mr. de Lugo. You testified before? 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Yes. 

Mr. de Lugo. We would appreciate having that. 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Sure, I will send you a copy of that as soon 
as I get to Puerto Rico tomorrow. 

[Editor's note. — The statement was not received at the time of 
printing.] 

Mr. de Lugo. Do you have any specific comments on the lan- 
guage of the resolution? 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Well, if I may answer the question, the first 
question before. 

Mr. de Lugo. All right. 



232 3 9999 05018 303 5 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. Yes, I do, and the thing is I see that there 
are three possible, four possible solutions or outcomes to this plebi- 
scite. It could be that one of the three formulas win or that none 
win, if none gets more than 50 percent, which is a message that 
the people are trying to send. 

And then what I suggested in Puerto Rico was that the commit- 
tee that they were forming at that time, which they did away with 
later on, and it is not in the law, be divided proportionally among 
the members of the different formulas and that that be constituted 
into a dialogue committee with this Subcommittee and the Energy 
Committee in the Senate, so that new alternatives could be framed. 

At the national conference I also spoke of the possibility of new 
alternatives that could be framed. So that is my feeling regarding 
that particular aspect. 

Mr. DE LUGO. Well, I think that your suggestions are very con- 
structive, and so we would look forward to receiving your testimony 
that you previously gave the legislature. 

I want to thank all of you for having come all this way to testify, 
whether it is from New Jersey or New York or all the way from 
Puerto Rico, and for having been here for this long day. I hope that 
you found it as interesting as the Chair found it. I think that it 
was a very good hearing; very constructive, and I think that those 
who have been listening to this, whether it be the radio or tele- 
vision or the many, many people who have been here throughout 
the day, have to be impressed with what has gone on here today. 

Mr. Garriga-Pico. I am going to take the privilege of thanking 
the Chairman for all his effort during the whole day and commend 
him for all his effort in favor of the decolonialization of Puerto Rico 
in the name of all the Puerto Rican people. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Well, you must realize that I have a great admira- 
tion for the people of Puerto Rico and I am, as an American citizen, 
very embarrassed by the fact that our country has been remiss in 
moving forward in resolving this issue. It has been given pretty 
words before the U.N. and on the world stage, but the time has 
come, as I said, for us to step up to the plate on this All Star day 
and to really begin to play the game in earnest and then declare 
a winner and put the political status issue to rest finally after a 
century. 

And with that, I want to thank all of you and I want to thank 
the very fine staff led by Staff Director Jeff Farrow, my attorney, 
Brian Modeste, Daisy, and Gail, who was here earlier, and every- 
one that has contributed to these hearings. 

Mr. Alvarez. They have been very helpful, your staff. 

Mr. DE Lugo. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all. 

Mr. Santiago Valiente. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. de Lugo. We also want to thank WSO Radio and SIN in 
New York, both of which carried this broadcast live. It is a real 
public service. As an old radio man, I appreciate that. 

With that, the Committee will stand in recess until our hearings 
on August 3, unless we convene before that time with the witness 
from the administration. Thank you all. 

[Whereupon, at 6:40 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.] 

o